County ready to draw more folks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meeting space in Chilton County is a major problem. If you have to have a meeting, the only place you can go is usually the Alabama Power Conference Center in south Clanton. However, if you aren’t a non-profit organization, you are out of luck because those rooms are reserved for organizations such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life.

The good news is that those kinds of meeting rooms may soon be available. There are two local municipalities that are looking into such facilities.

Clanton is in the process of building a civic center that will provide a meeting space for 1,800 people. There are other breakout rooms and an auditorium planned in the construction. This civic center will be located right next to Jefferson State Community College on Lay Dam Road.

Also, the Town of Thorsby is looking at renovating its old elementary school to make it a community center. It will not be on the scale of Clanton’s new facility, but it could have the ability to house smaller meetings.

Thorsby, however, is much further behind in the process, and it could be several years before enough money is raised to complete it.

Having meeting facilities is perfect for Chilton County. The geographic center of the state is located in our county. Naturally, it would be a perfect place for state businesses and government agencies to hold state meetings or conventions especially if we can get more hotels to locate here.

People from Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile, Tuscaloosa and other places may travel to our community because of these meetings. They will spend their money here on food, gasoline and even lodging.

That is a major benefit to the community and could lead to our area generating more revenue to help improve roads and other services in our county.

Travelers have always stopped here in Chilton County to buy peaches. Now, we are about to have a facility that will draw more people for meetings.

The goal now is to find ways to draw them back to Chilton County for more than just meetings and peaches.