By Alton Mitchell
The Chambers County Development Authority sits quietly along. U.S. Highway 29 in Lanett. The small brick structure that shares its location with the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce holds a significant impact on the entire county. One that plays a significant role in the development of business and industry in Chambers County, as well as the development of additional tax revenue for sources such as education in Chambers County. In recent weeks the CCDA has taken the time to highlight some of the impacts and growth attributed to the agency in the past year.
In LaFayette growth is being seen with efforts such as streets resurfacing, the downtown streetscape project, and the massive Origis Energy solar facility being built in LaFayette. The CCDA has played a quiet role in getting these and other projects rolling in LaFayette and other Chambers County communities such as Valley & Lanett.
In 2016 Chambers County became the home to several new retailers. New names popping up in the area include: Dairy Queen, Red Roof Inn, Steak n Shake, Valley Park Manor, Vintage Coffee, and Quality Tire Pro. The efforts of the CCDA has made Chambers County a poster child of present economic conditions around the United States. While many communities some in neighboring counties are losing retailers such as Rue 21, Payless Shoes, Gander Mountain, K Mart, Sears, and others, Chambers County is challenging that precedent.
The efforts of the CCDA are a major part of this growth. The organization which assists with finding feasible locations for business to expand operations is a key element of the CCDA. As well as seeking stable companies to locate into the county. In addition the CCDA works as a liaison between municipalities and companies to work out the quirks and establish growth is another element of the CCDA. In LaFayette, the Origis Energy plant was in the works for several months before public knowledge was released about the project code named: Project Fireball in its early development.
Those meetings and behind the scenes negotiations have now led to a major construction project and economic incubator to LaFayette. LaFayette was not the only place to see industrial growth in 2016 thanks to the efforts of the CCDA. In 2016, three existing industries expanded their operations in Chambers County to include: AJIN USA, Leehan America, and GLMS. There were also several new company development announcements in 2016 from CCDA efforts that included: PSR Plastic Solutions, GA Plating Company, and Mando USA.
These developments in both the retail and industrial fields led to massive economic growth for Chambers County as a whole. According to the CCDA the expansions and new companies establishing operations in the Chambers County area last year impacted the area with a $3 million economic boost to school systems in Chambers County alone.
The CCDA is far from done the organization continues to work on projects and developments to come to Chambers County in 2017. The efforts of the CCDA are displayed in the very branding campaign now circulating in the county, “Strength Woven In”. Strength is certainly woven in and one of the strongest threads in that link is the Chambers County Development Authority.