Steering Committee plans for future

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
The City of Atmore Steering Committee met Monday at the Community Cup to discuss the progress made in the last year and what things needed to be addressed for the next year.
"What we're going to be doing is go over where we are, " chairman Tom Latino said before the meeting began. "We're also looking at things in regard to Hurricane Ivan and whether or not we need to revise our strategic plan as a result, we are also going to see if we need to appoint a new chairperson. I've been doing this since we began and I think it would be good to have new leadership."
The steering committee has been around for three years and is made up of members of the community working to better the city.
"We actually came out of the Chamber, they were the ones that sat us up but it was important to everyone that we have an organization that was neither driven by the city government nor the chamber. When we started we had a facilitator from Alabama Power helping us. We held three town hall meetings open to the public to discuss what was important to the people and that data was used to develop the plan so it is actually a city driven plan."
This meeting largely discussed the impact of hurricane Ivan on the current plan.
"Hurricane Ivan did have an impact on where we are with the plan," Latino said. "What we need to do at this point with these things is see where we are and see if we need to make some adjustments to the plan as far as new goals."
Several committee members noted that there was a boom in the real estate market as a result of people moving out of Florida and into Atmore. Another major topic of discussion was attracting new business.
"We want to work with the college and the K through 12 to develop skilled workers," Industrial Board Director Marshall Rogers said. "We have a lot of unskilled labor but one of the things new companies look for is skilled labor."
The steering committee is working with area schools and Jefferson Davis Community College to help students earn business-related skills.
Another item on the groups agenda was making sure the city was clean so that more people and businesses would be drawn to the area.
"Two of the things I was using was using people's community service obligations to clean up the roads," Latino said. "Then we need to enforce the codes we've got and use the fines to generate funds."
One idea was to implement a yard of the month program to encourage people to keep their property clean.
Other Items discussed were:
o damaged "Welcome to Atmore" signs
o broken billboards that are considered eyesores
o The restaurant guidethat has been developed by the chamber
o billboards promoting historic downtown Atmore

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