Originally created 08/18/99

Fund-raiser report expected



Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce President Jim West will report the results of a $3.5 million fund-raiser for area economic development and unveil a new plan today at the organization's monthly board of directors meeting.

The effort, dubbed Forward Together, is a public and private partnership designed five years ago to generate 10,000 new jobs and $1 billion in capital investment, Mr. West said.

He declined, however, to discuss how well it met its goal.

"This community decided there needed to be a concerted effort to make economic development happen," Mr. West said. "We've still got to do more in the economic development area.

"We've got to continue the effort," he said.

Money for the project mostly came from private sources.

Major contributors include: Westinghouse Savannah River Co., University Hospital, Georgia Power Co., BellSouth, SunTrust Bank, International Paper, Boral Bricks, Georgia Bank & Trust Co., PCS Nitrogen Fertilizer and Morris Communications Corp., the parent company of The Augusta Chronicle.

A small percentage of the contributions, $175,000, came from the economic development authorities of Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.

Forward Together helped attract projects such as the Delta and Future Call service centers, and plants such as International Flavors & Fragrances and Monsanto's bovine growth hormone facility, which is under construction.

The meeting today at the Partridge Inn is closed to the public, Mr. West said. Although the chamber of commerce does spend public money, it is exempt from open meeting requirements, he said.

Frank Witsil can be reached at (706) 823-3352.