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Industrial park access road progressing

The access road for the Demopolis Airport Industrial Park is moving forward, according to Debra M. Fox, executive director of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority.

That information was given at the Demopolis Industrial Development Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

“The plans have been drawn, and it is moving forward,” Fox said. “Almon and Associates has completed its preview work.

“We worked very hard with ADECA (the Alabama Dept. of Economic and Community Affairs), the Alabama Development Office and the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission to get money for the city to upgrade the rail spur.”

Fox said there are a number of steps to be taken before that all comes into fruition, but a lot of the basic framework is there.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Demopolis Industrial Development Board will be on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 a.m.

Other actions taken at the Demopolis Industrial Development Board meeting included:

Board chair John Laney mentioned that the board will elect officers at its February meeting, including the chair, vice chair and secretary. He volunteered to chair the nominating committee, as he was not eligible to serve as a board officer, and Diane Brooker and Ronnie O’Neal will also serve on that committee.

Fox discussed her plans to talk about gathering data for the SWOT list (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) from the Demopolis industrial development board, the Linden industrial development board, mayors and city councils and the county commission and then, with local and area industries.

The SWOT list will help industries and civic entities identify warning signs that could lead to the loss of an industry and can help prevent that loss from happening.

“This has never been done county-wide,” she said. “We really don’t know where we stand in terms of where there are some gaps and weaknesses, and we absolutely need to know that now, with the current economic climate. We also want to continue to focus on the things that we are doing right.”

Fox said she would provide a packet of information in February to all city and county entities to help gather information to evaluate the region’s industrial capabilities.

The board declined to discuss signage for the South Industrial Park, removing that topic from the board agenda list.

The board voted to give Ron Scott, the executive director for the Economic Development Association of Alabama, a gift in appreciation for coming to speak to the board’s industry appreciation luncheon held on Thursday.

The board voted to get a credit card for the industrial development board, naming Pat Brady as the authorized user.