2008 State of the Region luncheon
The 2008 Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce State of the Region luncheon took place on January 18, 2008 at the Harbert Center. The annual event is organized by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce as a way of bringing together leaders from the 7-county Birmingham Metropolitan Area to discuss the main issues affecting their districts and their vision for the future of the region.
The 2008 luncheon featured officials from Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, St Clair, and Walker Counties. Other guest included State Representative Patricia Todd, State Senator Jabo Waggoner, Metropolitan Development Board president Ted vonCannon.
The assembled officials pledged, once again, to improve regional communication and cooperation, especially for economic development. Al Green of Bibb County touted the development of the Cahaba Wildlife Refuge near West Blocton and a planned West Blocton Coke Over Park. David Standridge of the Blount County/Oneonta Chamber of Commerce talked about their cooperation with St Clair County officials for regional economic development projects. Chilton County's Alan Caton said his area was benefitting from its central location, and called for widening I-65. Jim Carns of the Jefferson County Commission said regionalism was imperative, and would require setting aside egos. Stan Batemon of St Clair County noted the selection of Pell City for a new Veterans Affairs nursing home. Shelby County's Joel Beardon discussed growth south of Birmingham, and Bruce Hamrick of Walker County called on strong growing regions to buoy up lagging areas.
Birmingham City Council president Carole Smitherman, speaking on behalf of the city while Mayor Larry Langford recuperated from hip surgery, played the "Believe in Birmingham" video which debuted during the 2008 State of the City address and touted the newly re-energized spirit of the region's central city, asking other areas to latch on. Hoover mayor Tony Petelos, a newcomer to the luncheon, talked about the lead role his city's Department of Homeland Security has taken in educating other city officials about security issues and called for more ways for area governments to collaborate on mutually-beneficial projects.
- "County leaders want to improve regional cooperation". (January 18, 2008) Birmingham Business Journal
- Bryant, Walter (January 19, 2008) "Birmingham regional chamber meeting touts cooperation." Birmingham News