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Area could support more retail

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER Managing editor
Local Alabama Power manager Loretta Thomas is encouraging residents to participate in a March 17 seminar designed to help communities transform the ordinary to extraordinary.
The development seminar, "Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities," is designed to inform residents and business owners on how local people transform their economies in a knowledge-based society. It's set for March 17th for 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. in Grove Hill High Schools' Sage Auditorium. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served.
Conference presenters will include representatives of small, rural areas that used innovative approaches to econimc development, including Colquitt, Ala.; Morrilton, Ark.; Haven Acres Neighborhood – Tupelo, Miss.; Western North Carolina; and Houston, Minn. They are all small, rural areas that used an innovative approach to community and economic development.
To generate interest, Thomas is visiting with government leaders and civic groups. On Monday evening, she spoke to East Brewton City Council members.
In the spring of 2003, eight communities were selected as the initial Alabama Communities of Excellence program participants. Brewton is among the cities that will partake in the process, as is Monroeville.
The ACE program, partially sponsored by Alabama Power, is a comprehensive approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 12,000. It was devised to plan and prepare for a more vibrant future.
Through the program, the city will receive technical assistance from ACE team members. The program will also provide support to help community leaders devise a strategic plan in order to maximize opportunities for community development and job growth.
The March 17th seminar is meant to educate citizens on how to build a stronger economy. The seminar will include leadership lessons for getting citizens involved, as well as initiate conversations between local citizens and resource participants in successful places.
An East Brewton Council committee will attend the one-day conference, and residents within the community are encouraged to attend the seminar.
Registration materials for the conference were sent to the 10-county Alabama Tombigbee Region, as well as Baldwin, Mobile, Pickens, Greene, and Tuscaloosa counties. A large crowd is expected for this unique conference and space will be limited. Attendees are encouraged to register early to guarantee a place at this exciting conference. The conference fee is $25. For more information, or to get a registration form, call the Clarke County Development Foundation at 251-275-4254, or Judy Graham, committee chairperson, at 251-434-5201.