Jackson Co. Picked to Participate in OPAL Rural Recovery Accelerator Program

Jackson Co. Picked to Participate in OPAL Rural Recovery Accelerator Program

By B.A. Little, Reporter • beverlyannette@southerntorch.com

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — Main Street Scottsboro, the City of Scottsboro,  Jackson County EDA,  Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and the IMPACT Learning Center are excited to announce their partnership with Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) in their Rural Recovery Accelerator Program!

 This program is designed to help rural communities build economic resiliency strategies to survive the current crisis with COVID-19. Jackson County was one of the six counties in the state of Alabama selected! 

Katie Kirkland, Events and Marketing Coordinator at the City of Scottsboro said,” What we need from residents is to let everyone know about this announcement and to let your various followers and groups know about the community survey. This survey will help the people involved in the project better understand the impact of COVID-19 on Jackson County residents and businesses.”

Take the survey by visiting the City of Scottsboro website and Facebook, Downtown Scottsboro Facebook, Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook, EDA Facebook, and IMPACT Learning Center Facebook. 

Jackson County was selected from a large statewide pool of applicants for the new program, which has already received national attention from Forbes Magazine. 

“We were impressed with the capacity Jackson County demonstrated for economic growth,

even in the midst of the current national crisis,” said Opportunity Alabama CEO, Alex

Flachsbart. “We are excited for the opportunity of showcasing Jackson County and all our

assets. Jackson County is centrally located between Huntsville and Chattanooga and we

are ready for business!” says Nathan Lee, Project Manager for the Jackson County

Economic Development Authority.

Lee said that the biggest thing community residents can do to support the initiative is to take this survey to help Jackson County leaders and OPAL better understand the impact of COVID-19 on Jackson County residents and businesses. “We will be relying on your feedback to help us set the course for economic recovery,” said Lee.

Rural Recovery Accelerator operates at the county level to foster collaboration between

neighboring townships and municipalities. The Jackson County 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. The team already completed its first meeting with Opportunity Alabama and has already identified various projects that show real promise.

Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) is a nonprofit organization that connects Alabama communities

and projects to a statewide and national network of impact-oriented investors. Though its

primary focus to date has been projected in Opportunity Zones, OPAL has broadened its view to better address the needs of Alabama’s rural and low-income communities. Rural Recovery

Accelerator is one of the ways OPAL intends to address those needs.

“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,” says Alex Flachsbart. “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?”

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