February 21, 2007 Edition

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Chamber seeks support from WR

Wilson Schmidt (from left), Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts and Walnut Ridge Mayor Michelle Rogers visit after Walnut Ridge's City Council meeting on Feb. 13.
TD Photo ~ Amber Adams

Gloria Wilkerson
TD Staff

The Walnut Ridge City Council had a busy agenda at its regular meeting on Feb. 13 at City Hall.

Clay Sloan, chairman of the board of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, addressed the council requesting funding for the Chamber. "We're living month to month now, and trying to get rid of the spec building. We can't make the liability insurance payments on it now. If we can't keep the doors open and the Chamber is lost, that will be another nail in the county's coffin," Sloan said. "A city or a county is at a big disadvantage without a chamber."

Sloan said that he plans to meet with every city council in the county, and that everyone in the county needs to cooperate.

"The city of Walnut Ridge has spent $1,500 a month in support of the Chamber for a total of $18,000 a year," Sloan said. "Other towns in the county have paid membership fees only, at $100 to $110 each."

Alderman Ron Smith told Sloan that he and others felt they have supported the Chamber in the past and seen no results, besides being the only town that's paying large sums of money to keep the Chamber going.

Mayor Rogers told the council that the city has a half million dollars invested in the spec building and payments to the Chamber.

"The Chamber does have things going on," Sloan said. "We do what we can with what we've got. We have prospects, one of which has been looking at us for a couple of years, and we are in contact with them on a weekly basis. If we get this business, it will employ 35 to 50 people.

"A second prospect we have involves ethanol, and we do not need to let this prospect slip away."

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