Greater Shoals

Shoals residents attending Tuesday's Greater Shoals meeting view results in real time from the votes that they made by cellphone on issues that they consider most important. [BERNIE DELINSKI/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — Members of the Greater Shoals group shared suggestions during a Tuesday gathering, arranging them under six headings based on recommendations of six working groups. They include:

Digital Infrastructure:

• Develop broadband coverage throughout the Shoals.

• Attract, train and retain a digital workforce.

• Provide incentives to speed the development of the highest broadband access.

• Attract high-tech companies.

Economic Development:

• The Shoals Economic Development Authority should create a 21st century economic development model.

• Use resources such as the Shoals Economic Development Fund prudently and strategically.

• The Shoals Economic Development Fund should help support local organizations that contribute to economic development, such as the Shoals Business Incubator, Shoals Scholar Dollars, and business and workforce development programs at the University of North Alabama and Northwest-Shoals Community College.

Government Cooperation:

• Tuscumbia and Sheffield should develop a process for sharing sewer and water plants.

• Develop a working group for Tuscumbia and Sheffield and other interested entities to seek cost savings or consolidation of identical municipal services.

Quality Of Life:

• Mesh local businesses and industries in ways that provide support in ways that enhance the quality of life.

• Develop a Greater Shoals Poverty Council to work with existing programs and create new ones to assist those who are mentally ill, underemployed, homeless, aging, disabled or unemployable.

Unified Tourism:

• Eliminate friction and promote cooperation between the tourism organizations in Lauderdale and Colbert counties, or merge them.

Workforce Development:

• Shoals Scholar Dollar leadership should look into ways to expand students' access to Northwest-Shoals Community College and the University of North Alabama.

• Develop computer coding certificates and degrees.

• Develop a retention plan for Northwest-Shoals and UNA graduates.

• More closely collaborate all workforce development groups in the Shoals.

• Develop a mentoring program for employees.

• Determine the level and causes of underemployment and develop programs to address the issue.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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