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Bioscience authority to move forward

POSTED: July 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.

A regional authority is recommitting itself to moving forward.

The Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority met at the Winder Community Center on Thursday for the first time, with a quorum, since last September and reaffirmed the need for the authority while planning out the steps to move forward with the authority’s goals.

That starts with crafting an updated strategic plan. To make that happen, the authority appointed a committee, to include one member from each of the four counties involved, to study the previous plan and decide how to adjust that to the present time. The committee will also focus on determining the best 501c3 non-profit to use for accepting funds donated from regional businesses that can be utilized to help market the Highway 316 corridor.

"What we want to do is get the authority back on its feet," said new authority chairman Tommy Jennings, Barrow’s Chamber of Commerce Chair. "I think the reason for it is still valid."

The others agreed, or at least those present. The authority is structured to include three representatives each from Gwinnett, Barrow, Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties, the four which have a vested interest in the 316 corridor. Since Sept. 13, 2013, the authority has been unable to come together with enough members for a quorum (needed to do any real business) until Thursday.

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash credited her Barrow counterpart, Pat Graham, with spearheading the effort to get enough members together for a quorum.

All representatives from Gwinnett, Oconee and Barrow were present, while the three Athens-Clarke representatives were unable to attend.

The strategic planning committee will report back to the full authority at the next scheduled meeting 3 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Winder Community Center.

Nick Masino, Sr. Vice President, Economic Development & Partnership Gwinnett for the Gwinnett Chamber and the authority’s new vice chair, also noted that, at some point, the authority has to put some of its ideas into action.

"At some point we're going to have to do something," he said.

Barrow’s Director of Economic and Community Development, Guy Herring, was also appointed during the meeting to the authority to serve with Jennings and Graham as the Barrow representatives. Herring will also be the Barrow member on the strategic planning committee. Jennings said he would contact Athens Mayor Nancy Denson for her group’s appointment to the committee.



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