Plans underway for countywide IDB

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2007

County leaders have partnered to form a steering committee for a proposed countywide industrial development authority.

Jay Shows, executive director for the city of Demopolis’ Industrial Development Board said, &8220;We are in the formative stages with the project right now.&8221;

Shows said he, along with other steering committee members, consisting of approximately 30 members from throughout the county, is exploring the idea of becoming a county unit.

The mission of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority is to work in partnership and coordination with local communities, business and civic organizations, landowners and other entities for the purpose of retaining and expanding existing business and industry and actively recruiting new business and industry in order to improve the area’s overall economic

climate and quality of life.

Shows said the funding would in turn fund the salary of an economic developer with a background in economic development, networking experience in economic development and business retention experience to lead the county’s economic development drive.

Shows said it is proposed that Demopolis and Linden both keep their current development boards.

The steering committee for the project is funded through a Rural Initiative Grant of $9,700, which will provide the committee with consultants on joint development agencies, Kathryn Friday, committee member said.

Friday said where Marengo County is trying to become countywide; most other economic development boards are working to become regional.

Friday said it is essentially important for the county to become joined on economic development to attract potential large industries to the county.

Shows said the agency is looking a various funding structures, but has found through other agencies that the public-private funded agencies have had the most success.

Friday said they are seeking funding from Demopolis and Linden as well as the County Commission, but will also seek for the county’s smaller municipalities to contribute as they can.

The Demopolis City Council recently voted to commit to a Marengo County Economic Development Authority, to be established within an appropriate time frame. The Council agreed to a potential financial commitment of $50,000.

Friday said community leaders from throughout the county have been involved in the development of the authority.