Lamante Attaud, a member of the 20/20 III steering committee, spoke Friday morning with the chamber’s Economic Development Committee about preliminary information that the consultants have submitted.
Attaud said the primary targets fall into three broad categories; technology and business services, advanced manufacturing, and transportation and logistics. Secondary targets fall into the areas of diversified health care opportunities and tourism and lifestyle services.
When it comes to the technology sector, Attaud asked the committee to ponder how the community can take better advantage of the broadband fiber network that is now being installed across the region.
“Every business is a global business now,” Attaud said. “That type of access (broadband fiber) is ultra-important right now.”
He said the consultants, and steering committee members alike, believe that Rome’s diversified manufacturing base makes Rome very viable when it comes to attracting new manufacturers, and he said that the consultants believe that local leaders need to find new ways of using the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport more effectively in terms of transportation of goods.
“It’s an asset that sets us apart,” Attaud said of the airport.
He also said that the opening of the new Tony E. Warren M.D. Harbin Clinic Cancer Center has brought even more attention to Rome.
During the discussion of the tourism and lifestyles sector, chamber President Al Hodge reminded the group that recruitment of a professional sports franchise to Rome was one of the original 20/20 objectives. It wasn’t too many years later that the Rome Braves became a reality.
“Think of that in terms of having the nation’s largest tennis center,” Hodge said the committee.
The 84-court Tennis Center of Georgia at Berry has not gotten past the discussion phase. Efforts to have the state kick in upwards of $7-8 million in bond financing for what is being billed as a major regional economic development project has failed to win sufficient support in the legislature, largely because of poor economic conditions across the state.
Attaud said the steering committee asked the Market Street consultants to make an effort to interview more young professionals who grew up in Rome then left the community to find out what their issues were before submitting the draft recommendations for specific target industries next month.