With the arrival of a new year, the Chambers County Development Authority is in the process of visiting with all their supporting entities to provide a comprehensive review of the many accomplishments achieved in Chambers County in 2015. CCDA staff members Valerie Gray, Kimberly Carter and Chris Busby will be providing reports to the Chambers County Commission and the councils of Valley, Lanett, LaFayette, Cusseta, Five Points and Waverly throughout January.
“In retrospect, 2015 was a year of rolling up our sleeves and methodically checking projected goals off the list,” says Gray, CCDA Executive Director. “Recruitment efforts were still strong and this remains our number one priority, but in addition, our goals of continuing to develop our communities from within were a point of emphasis. Existing industry support, small business support, creating a brand and community development are now areas of focus at the CCDA. With the addition of Chris Busby last year in the role of community development, the CCDA Board took another step in evolving our organization to meet the needs of the community that are so great.”
“We are not duplicating services of any organization within Chambers County, nor are we trying to be all things to all people, we are simply taking a lead role in resolving identified challenges within our community,” CCDA Board President Bobby Williams said. “Its been very clear this past year that the staff at the CCDA live and love Chambers County.”
As part of the annual report, the CCDA conveyed several of their many achievements that occurred in 2015. They are listed below:
• In 2015, $69,676,585 in capital investments were made in Chambers County and 133 new jobs were created as a result.
• CCDA efforts resulted in Chambers County and Lanett City Schools receiving $985,485 in funds from sales and use tax last year and they will receive an additional $2,227,363.40 over the next 5-10 years from property tax funding.
• Six new retailers were announced or opened in Chambers County and a new industry, Georgia Plating Company, located in the Huguley Industrial Park.
• Currently, the CCDA is working 19 active projects, including seven industrial, four retail and eight commercial.
• The most recent unemployment rate statistics released for the state show that Chambers County is at 5.4 percent, which ranks 50th out of Alabama’s 67 counties.
• Improving infrastructure continued to be a priority, as 2015 saw the paving of one mile of County Road 79 in the Chambers County Industrial Park in Cusseta. Additionally, the first steps were taken to begin a repaving project in the Huguley Industrial Park, which should be completed early this year. Both of these projects
are a partnership with the Chambers County Commission and Chambers County Highway Department.
• The CCDA worked to develop new product in 2015, highlighted by the announcement of a new 397-acre Industrial Park in Valley. Other product included the LaFayette AdvantageSite, 220 acres in the Chambers County Industrial Park, and several available buildings.
• The CCDA’s Small Business Grant program continued to make an impact throughout 2015 and to date, 13 businesses have received grants totaling $43,600.
• The CCDA’s weekly Jobs Blast email and resume database, administered by Kimberly Carter, has been tremendously successful, helping over 100 individuals find employment in 2015.
• The CCDA announced a new county-wide branding campaign in March of 2015 and since that time, it’s implementation has been a resounding success. Ten new logos have been developed for county organizations, cities, towns and schools, and a broad marketing campaign to promote Chambers County utilizing the brand has taken shape.
• Other notable activities that took place in 2015 included, the Grand Opening of Hantal Alabama in the Chambers County Industrial Park, an employee appreciation event at WestRock in the Huguley Industrial Park, the initial phases of developing a business incubator, and the formation of a Mill Committee to address the conditions of old mill sites in the county.
“The paving projects for the Chambers County Industrial Park and the Huguley Industrial Park could not have been possible without the Chambers County Commission and our Chambers County Engineer and Highway Department, and we are extremely grateful to them,” Gray noted.
“2015 was a great year but 2016 is going to be even better. With our efforts to be more focused on developing our area and our locals, new product being introduced to the market, ramped up precise targeting efforts, and continued improvement of our cities and county aesthetics, we are very excited about what lies ahead for Chambers County,” she concluded.