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Regional effort gets great start

By By MICHELE GERLACH-Publisher
The Tri-County Industrial Development Authority has raised $2.2 million with which to promote economic development in Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties.
The group made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a ceremony at its new office, located at Hwy. 41 and I-65.
In announcing the drive's success, board secretary-treasurer John Barnett of Monroeville said he had been "much surprised and overwhelmed" at the success.
Referring to the financial support the project has received as an investment, Barnett said, "This will pay off many times over."
TCIDA began with the idea of locating an industrial park at the site of its new office, board chairman Yank Lovelace said.
The board hired Funding Solutions to raise the funds it would need to operate.
Tom Mucks, who heads that organization, said he often has to push clients to believe in themselves and to "lay down their differences for the sake of the team."
The public's support of this initiative has been great, he said.
Lovelace also announced that the board has hired Wiley Blankenship, formerly of Funding Solutions, as its president. Blankenship has done much of the fundraising work for the organization. (See related story, Page 2A).
The event drew a crowd of about 150 people, including elected officials, state economic development officials and local supporters. Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Seth Hammett (D-Andalusia) attended, as did Rep. Greg Albritton (R-Conecuh County).
TCIDA board members include, from Escambia County, Lovelace, J.R. Jones of Flomaton and Bob Jones of Atmore; from Conecuh County, Gerald Borden, Wiley Salter and Lula Palmer; from Monroe County, Sam Colvert, Sandy Smith, and Barnett.