IDA reflects on festival and finances – The Clanton Advertiser

By JOYANNA LOVE | Chief Editor

The Chilton County Industrial Development Authority discussed the “tremendous success” of the Strawberry Festival at a meeting on April 12.

IDA Board Chairman Allen Caton thanked Executive Director Whitney Barlow for her work on the project.

Local student talent was on display through the Blast From the Past student art competition and performances.

Barlow said the art show showed Chilton County has talented young artists.

The success of promotional efforts was also discussed. Allen said the Strawberry Queens did several interviews to promote the events. Barlow also challenged them to take pictures with strawberry-related items and post them on their social media.

“They’re your best ambassadors because they’re excited and their parents are excited,” Barlow said.

She said efforts were made to buy everything locally for the festival, but some things had to be bought from outside the county.

Proceeds from the event were estimated at $21,000, which Barlow said would likely be $5,000 less than was spent after all bills were paid.

Given the success of the event, the board agreed with this, considering it “money well spent” to promote agriculture and the community.

Barlow said next year more sponsors and grants could be secured to ensure the full cost was covered.

Continuing this momentum for agritourism across the county will be a priority throughout the year.

Also during the meeting, Member Bobby Cook provided an update on the authority’s finances. Two CDs were recently renewed with $265,914 invested in one and $39,079 invested in the other. One had an annual percentage return of 0.60% and the other had an annual percentage return of 0.40%.

As of January 30, IDA also had $14,796 in a marketing account and $693,284 in a business account.

The board then approved a $1,000 peach jam sponsorship and full-page ad in the Clanton Lions Club Peach Pageant program.

WC Hayes, board member and mayor of Maplesville, asked how much money had been generated from the sale of timber cut during the second phase at the proposed Alabama Farm Center site. The proceeds had been $60,000. (The first phase of wood had been sold for $79,000.)

Several development or expansion projects in the early preliminary stages were briefly mentioned. Barlow said she was talking to an industry about grants she might be eligible for.

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