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Chamber eyes conference center here
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
March 27, 2013 08:54 AM | 966 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More opportunities for attracting business to Paulding County may be coming if two projects unveiled last week come to fruition.

Paulding Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Wright told county Industrial Building Authority members the chamber soon will undertake a study to see if Paulding would benefit from construction of a conference center.

In addition, Jamie Gilbert, executive director of Paulding Economic Development, told the authority he is working to create a new state-sanctioned opportunity zone in which private employers could receive tax credits for creating jobs.

Wright said a conference center is the next step in Paulding’s efforts to bring more tourism to the county.

“We [the chamber] have been in meetings with the county and two cities,” she said.

After the meetings the chamber’s board voted to fund a study for a conference center and hotel, she said.

“The study will conduct research for what size facility we could handle, [and] how to pay for it,” Wright said.

The research will determine where the center should be built, and if it would be economically beneficial to have a hotel connected to it, she said.

The study should start sometime in April, and will hopefully be completed within June, Wright said.

“The chamber is really just planning for the future,” she said.

Also planning for the future, Gilbert has been working with the county and the city of Hiram to gain approval of a state-sanctioned opportunity zone in the Hiram area.

He said he is working to complete the application and send it to the state government by August or September.

“We are expecting to have approval on the opportunity zone by the end of the year,” Gilbert said.

Establishment of the zone could aid in recruitment of new employers. New or existing businesses that create at least two jobs within the zone receive state income tax and payroll withholding tax credits, according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Gilbert also updated the authority on new businesses his organization has recruited, and businesses which could be coming to Paulding.

Paulding Economic Development recently worked with Classic Crafted Cabinetry, which will have three employees, to move to Hiram, Gilbert said. The economic development organization does not just focus on recruiting large-scale businesses. Every company started out as a small business, he said.

“You never know who will grow into a big business,” Gilbert said.

During the fiscal year, which started July 1, 2012, Gilbert and his team has recruited seven new businesses, he said.

Gilbert said without his organization these businesses would have gone to another county because there would have been no other established organization to show the benefits of building in Paulding.
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