Randolph County Economic Development Authority entered into an agreement with Spurrier Consulting of Mississippi to conduct a hotel feasibility study for the county.

During the October meeting, Whaley said, "We desperately need a quality hotel in our county, but a hotel chain will not consider your area without a feasibility study."

The study will include the best location, room size, number of extended stay vs. normal occupancy rooms, occupancy rate, and the return of investment for a possible investor. The key to getting a new hotel is showing a need for it, and then pitching that idea to a group of investors. The study began last week and will last until the end of November. Whaley will then present the report to potential investors and gauge interest levels.

Small business incubator

RCEDA began construction of the small business incubator.

The RCEDA was awarded a $4,000 grant from Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) to go towards the remodel project of the RCEDA office. The 1,500-foot space will have to be boxed in, then sheet rocked with new flooring and dropped ceiling.

"I hope to have to have the space finished in December then will begin the "Rent-a-Desk" program in January 2020. The program is designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses to get a start without the initially overhead. There will be an application process and progress will be monitored on a month-to-month basis," said Whaley.

Return of land

RCEDA signed an agreement that releases Koch Foods from their original project agreement for "Project Deer." The same agreement will go to the City of Roanoke and the county commissioner for approval.

Once approval from all three entities is complete, and then Koch Foods will send the deed of 27 acres located near Johnson Street. The site will then be added to the RCEDA websites and listed for available development. The site will be also marketed in the county's Opportunity Zone

Teachers visiting industries

Lastly, RCEDA, East Alabama Works and Roanoke City Schools have agreed to do an Educator Workforce Visit on Dec. 9. The RCEDA will take 35 teachers from Handley High School on three industry visits in Roanoke. Teachers will have half a day as professional development then will eat lunch followed by industry tours from 11:45 to 3 p.m.

The RCEDA is in the process of scheduling something similar with the Randolph County School System. The purpose of this visit is to get teachers out of the classroom and into the workforce.

"I want teachers to hear from employers directly of what they look for in a worker and the daily issues they face," said Whaley.

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