ALL ABOUT A’s: CCEDC priorities are aviation, automotive, agribusiness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Covington County Economic Development Commission’s Rick Clifton told members of the Covington County Commission on Tuesday that the potential for agribusiness has become a target for the agency.

“We are targeting certain industries,” Clifton said. “Aviation is one of the target industries; and automobile industries because of our location. Agribusiness is one we’ve not really looked at in the past, but are now trying to emphasize.”

“We had a meeting with local ag business people in February,” he said. “That went so well that we followed up with a meeting with the timber people. We are doing what we can, and working with the extension service. Food processing is a big thing, but we have to have the food to process.”

Meanwhile, CCEDC’s first priority is to recruit tenants for the hangars at airport, Clifton said.

“This commission has a financial responsibility for the hangars,” he said. “So does Andalusia, and so does Opp.

So that’s priority one.”

Another priority is a tenant for Sitel’s building near South Alabama Regional Airport, he said.

“They had just remodeled the building and put in a new security system before they closed here,” Clifton said. “Sitel leaving that facility in a plug and play position eventually will attract other business.”

Other priorities are the spec building in Opp and the industrial park in Andalusia, he said.

“We had a prospect for the spec building in Opp, and thought we had a deal to close on it in August. But the company changed plans,” he said. “You don’t know until the last signature is made. We worked on that for eight months, and last week, we found out they changed their minds.”

Clifton said the challenges in promoting rural Covington County are felt in many other areas of the nation.

“Getting us on the radar, and getting in front of people who make decisions is important,” he said. “We came back from the retail trade show with five good retail prospects. It might take years to develop that, but we will be working with them.

“We are marketing and showcasing Covington County wherever we go,” he said.

In addition to the governmental support CCEDC receives from the county, the City of Andalusia and the City of Opp, the organization also is supported by CCB Community Bank, Southern Independent Bank, PowerSouth, Covington Electric, and Southeast Gas, among others, Clifton said.