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Chambers County selected for Rural Recovery Accelerator

Chambers County has been selected to participate in the Rural Recovery Accelerator, a new community-oriented technical assistance program designed to help rural communities build the economic resiliency strategies they need to survive the current crisis.

According to the Chambers County Development Authority, The Rural Recovery Accelerator is a new initiative launched by Opportunity Alabama (OPAL), a statewide organization dedicated to connecting communities with capital.

Chambers was selected from a statewide pool of applicants for the new program, which has already received national attention from Forbes Magazine. Opportunity Alabama is working closely with the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) to equip communities like Lanett, LaFayette, and Valley with the data, relationships and strategies to recover and to thrive post-COVID-19.

“We were impressed with the capacity Chambers County demonstrated for

economic growth, even in the midst of the current national crisis,” Opportunity Alabama CEO Alex Flachsbart said in a press release.

“We are grateful for the opportunity that Alex and his Team at OPAL have given us,” CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray said. “Residents of Chambers County need to know that the Board and Staff at the CCDA continue to work diligently to improve our economy and be innovative in changing our economy. We certainly will take advantage of the expertise that the OPAL staff has to offer.”

Gray said that the biggest thing community residents can do to support the initiative is to take a survey that was created to help the CCDA and OPAL better understand the impact of COVID-19 on Chambers County residents and businesses. The survey link can be found on the CCDA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ChambersCountyDA/.

“We will be relying on your feedback to help us set the course for economic recovery,” Gray said.

Rural Recovery Accelerator operates at the county level to foster collaboration between neighboring townships and municipalities. Chambers County has already done considerable work in this arena through its “Strength Woven In” initiative.

The CCDA team will meet regularly with Opportunity Alabama staff to address economic resiliency in five key ways: strategy development, data analysis, network development, marketing materials,\ and investment opportunities. Chambers County already completed its first meeting with Opportunity Alabama and has already identified projects that it believes show promise.

Opportunity Alabama is a nonprofit organization that connects Alabama communities and projects to a statewide and national network of impact-oriented investors.

“We see this moment – where communities are setting aside their differences to work together on recovery – as a chance to put lasting infrastructure in place to improve local economies,” Flachsbart said. “To us, the question is not: how do we reopen over the next 2-3 months? Rather, it is: how do we leverage this moment to build a stronger economic foundation over the next 6-24 months?”

Chambers is one of six counties statewide selected to participate in the beta version of the Accelerator. Other counties statewide selected to participate in the Accelerator include Sumter, Butler Calhoun, Limestone and Jackson.