Cooperation facilitates county growth

No. 1 priority: JOBS
Aug. 20, 2013 @ 09:43 AM

Working together has led to an improved perception of Davidson County, concluded panelists at the Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City and County luncheon held Aug. 15 at Colonial Country Club.

The effort ultimately led to Thomasville's designation by the National Civic League as an All-America City.

Fred McClure, who serves as chairman of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners, said work remains to be done and successes by the city and county will continue only if forward thinking continues.

"The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror," McClure said. "I believe that. I believe we have to look in the rearview mirror to see what's behind, but you don't concentrate on that. You concentrate on what's ahead. The vision the Commissioners have for the county is very rosy, very bright. We have started working continually and are sponsoring the chambers of commerce. As a result of that, our sales tax has increased by $2 million. That makes a big difference."

McClure said the Board's No. 1 priority continues to be bringing jobs to Davidson County. He also mentioned cooperation with the Economic Development Commission as a means by which Commissioners plan to facilitate this growth.

Joy Thompson, owner of Southern Sisters, joined elected officials as one of the panelists. Thompson conceded she does not consider herself an expert on how to practically bring business to the downtown area, but she is so adamant about downtown revitalization that she will open another Chair City business — Palette Boutique — in the next few months.

"I don't know how to make it happen, but that's up to y'all," Thompson deadpanned, glancing out at city officials. "A big thing I think we should pursue is getting a college into the TFI building downtown. If we did something like that, downtown would absolutely explode. We have to figure out who we are. The furniture industry grew us, but now we're here, and now what? Where are we going?"

The All-America City award was woven in the fabric of conversation between panelists and became the theme of the meeting. Mayor Joe Bennett recounted memories from the trip to Denver, Colo.

He believes the attention garnered through the award will pay dividends to help Thomasville establish its identity. He even mentioned plans to incorporate the All-America City logo on the football field at Cushwa Stadium.

"Since coming back...I get more emails today than I've ever received before," Bennett said. "It's not usually anything from a customer, but from people either saying, 'Congratulations, I'm happy for you,' or people are saying, 'I've just seen your webpage or something that says you're an All-American City. I need to know more about your town.' So, interest is being generated through this honor of being named an All-America City. And once you're named, it's for now and forever."

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.