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Leaders review workshop goals
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About 40 Liberty County area leaders met Monday at Coastal EMC in Midway to review progress on the goals set at the annual countywide planning workshop in April. They decided on a few interim strategies and began to plan for the 2011 workshop.
Liberty County Development Authority CEO Ron Tolley questioned the location of next year’s workshop. “Do we even have to go off to St. Simons or Jekyll to do this? The school board now has that nice facility, the former Brewton-Parker College,” he said. “Why couldn’t we meet there?”
Liberty County Planning Commission Director Sonny Timmerman, who led Monday’s session, pointed out the disadvantages of meeting nearby. Attendees are always tempted to leave the meeting to check in at their offices or transact other business, he said.
“You see it today. We’re losing participants from this meeting. There’s only one way we could meet locally,” Timmerman said, “We would have to take away everybody’s car keys and everybody’s phones and lock them up.” His solution drew murmurs of opposition from meeting attendees.
The annual workshop appears to be on track for the latter part of April on St. Simons Island. In response to suggestions, topics for discussion during the conference will be provided in advance. Participants will not use time at the workshop deciding what to discuss.
Leaders also addressed the phased implementation of the county’s master fire plan, which will soon provide permanent paid fire protection in the Midway area.
The group considered the community’s need for a civic center or other large meeting place, but assigned this project to a yet-to-be-hired Convention Visitors Bureau tourism coordinator.
Applications for the tourism coordinator position have been accepted and screened, but CVB board chairwoman Sandra Martin, mayor of Flemington, said the four-member board hasn’t been able to meet and discuss candidates for the job.
The tourism post has been vacant since June. Martin said the new employee, when chosen, will assess the need for a large meeting facility and the possibility of linking it with a hotel.
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