CHILDERSBURG, Ala. – The 2017-18 Class of the Greater Coosa Valley Leadership program kicked off on Thursday, August 24th at the Chamber office in downtown Childersburg.

“We had a solid group of leaders – elected officials, civic board members, as well as those representing our business community on hand for our kick-off session,” explained Chamber President Tom Roberts, “And we have more that will join us for our next session in September.

The session had a special theme, “Past, Present, and Future” as a guide for a lively and productive set of discussions. First, noted local historian, Probate Judge Billy Atkinson, Sr. had a unique history-laden presentation that included a trivia quiz that revealed ties to the local area from all manner of historic people and occurrences.

“We are as rich in significant history as any area I know,” said Atkinson. “And we need to fill our libraries with books and reference materials to acknowledge those ties. We need web sites to make these things public knowledge.”

The next segment, Roberts presented a brief analysis of the “Present” standing of the area, ”With a lot of newly-elected officials, an invigorated Chamber of Commerce, and other engaged members of the community, we are in an important transition period for Childersburg and its surrounding region. That starts with a blunt assessment as a means of creating a realistic set of plans of action – where we are, what resources we have, and what problems we face in moving foward. That’s what we worked on today.”

That process included a detailed SWOT Analysis, which lists, ranks, and prioritizes the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the region.

“We not only identified so many important things that are not normal, every day conversation topics, we discussed them in ways that give us a strong road map to things that need to be included in vital civic plans, such as Comprehensive and Strategic Plans,” said Roberts. “It puts positive pressure on our community leaders – government, civic, business, and industry – to collectively guide us in addressing the right things we need for a bright and growing future. And that includes engaging many others to make the future of the Greater Coosa Valley something progressive and prosperous.”

As an example, some of the identified strengths included a strong and growing list of attractions that regularly draw people to our area, a large industrial park that’s adjacent to the strong Highway 280 corridor, as well as the Talladega County School System, which continues to greatly invest in all aspects of the local schools.

Weaknesses included a lack of specific and detailed plans for future development of available industrial, commercial, and even residential properties, including upgrades and expansion of both current and future infrastructure needs.

Using those strengths and weaknesses, the group identified plenty of related opportunities that include the ways and means of spurring various types of economic development and redevelopment.

“It’s a matter of knowing and understanding what we want and need, what things we can do starting now, as well as being ready when opportunities come our way. Where will we put new industry, business, and residential growth, and how will we help meet their infrastructure needs?” said Roberts, “Having such things accounted for in our comprehensive and strategic plans can actually help in creating new opportunities.”

The identified threats quickly turned into “challenges” for the class to effectively engage the public in the process, especially the younger generations, as well as creating a more positive atmosphere of community, where eager people are ready to work together toward common goals.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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