Team effort helping Gadsden, Etowah County find ways to grow

Team effort helping Gadsden, Etowah County find ways to grow
Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson and Gadsden City Councilman Jason Wilson talk during Thursday's "Good News from Home" road show at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden. (Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

A lot of good is happening in Gadsden and Etowah County.

From repurposing vacant buildings to community outreach efforts, this northeast Alabama city and its neighbors are finding ways to grow. A “Good News from Home” road show from Noccalula Falls on Thursday highlighted many of those efforts in a live broadcast on Alabama NewsCenter’s Facebook page. Hosted by Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson, the show highlighted successful community, business and economic development efforts in the community, as well as some of the people responsible for the successes.

Good news from Gadsden from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The show began with a discussion about the Noccalula Experience, a play happening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 7 at Noccalula Falls. Producer/director Brian Clowdus joined us to talk about the play, which tells the story of a young woman torn between a powerful love and her sense of duty to her people. The play is set in the gorge below the falls.

Gadsden City Councilman Jason Wilson joined us next to discuss business growth in Gadsden. Wilson, owner of Back Forty Beer Company, talked about a variety of projects, such as The Venue at Coosa Landing, a multipurpose conference center developed from an abandoned building.

Wilson’s Back Forty Beer Company was one of four Alabama Makers featured during the road show. Other makers were Kettle Bros., Frios Gourmet Pops and Forgotten Ways Farm. Amber Bennett from Forgotten Ways Farm joined us to talk about why she started her business making goat milk soap.

We then took a few minutes to salute Renew Our Rivers. The river cleanup program began in Gadsden 20 years ago when Alabama Power employees organized a litter cleanup day on the Coosa River. Since then, more than 117,000 volunteers have removed more than 15 million pounds of trash from waterways around the Southeast.

We shared the story of Daniel Nance, an Alabama Power lineman working with the company’s Safe-T-Zone training program for first responders. Nance and his team recently trained Attalla firefighters, police officers and other city employees on ways to stay safe around downed power lines.

We also shared the story of Municipal Court Judge Nikki Tinker, who recently gave Gadsden middle schoolers a close-up view of court proceedings as part of a new project to introduce children to job possibilities in the judicial system.

One of the area’s most popular restaurants is Top O’ The River. We showed why the company’s Catfish and Greens made the Alabama Department of Tourism’s list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.

We wrapped up the show talking with Miranda Fairel, Marketing and Operations manager at the Gadsden Etowah Chamber of Commerce. Fairel talked about several upcoming events happening in the area.

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