Greater Gadsden Area Tourism
90 Walnut Street, Gadsden, AL 35901 256-549-0351 www.greatergadsden.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Hugh A. Stump III
GADSDEN, AL—February 27, 2018—GREATER GADSDEN AREA TOURISM AND NEELY HENRY LAKE ASSOCIATION PARTNER FOR A REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COOSA RIVER/NEELY HENRY LAKE ON ETOWAH COUNTY
Flowing for 77 miles through Etowah County and touching five communities, the Coosa River/Neely Henry Lake has long been an important economic driver for those whose lives it touches. Just how important is a question that two organizations are seeking an answer to. Greater Gadsden Area Tourism and the Neely Henry Lake Association have partnered to contract Jacksonville State University to do an economic impact study on the river.
“We think it’s time to get a handle on just how important the Coosa River is to all who live, work, or play on it in Etowah County. With the current situation with the Tri-State Water Wars between Alabama, Georgia, and Florida we need to have a very good sense of the value of that water.” says Tourism director Hugh Stump.
For decades, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida have been battling over the future allocation of water in two major river basins that cross their borders (the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basins). The dispute has involved several local, state and federal agencies, as well as numerous courts and mediators, and its outcome is one of the most important environmental issues facing the region today.
Eugene Phifer, president of the Neely Henry Lake Association, stated that “Neely Henry Lake is an extremely valuable environmental, aesthetic, recreational, and economic resource to this community and because of this value it must be protected. An important way to ensure that is to determine its economic impact to the communities located on (or near) Neely Henry Lake. When the results of the economic impact study are obtained, the extremely important socio-economic impact of this resource can be communicated to our local communities. This type of information should motivate more people and organizations to become involved in protecting this resource.”
Jennifer Green, Director for the Center for Economic Development & Business Research with
Jacksonville State University commented that “The Coosa River Basin/Neely Henry Lake serves as a northeast Alabama ecotourism mecca. By measuring the economic impact of the basin, the study will provide economic information that will be pertinent to formulating policy decisions. That information will also ensure that a strong and justified marketing campaign will tell the full story of this attraction far beyond Etowah County’s borders.”
All the communities on the river have pledged their support, as well as the Etowah County Commission. The study is set to begin in April and last through September with a report to be issued shortly thereafter.
Eugene Phifer, Neely Henry Lake Association, 256-390-7990
Jennifer Green, Jacksonville State University, 256-782-5796