In terms of economic development, the summer was slow and the month after Sept. 11 was even worse.
But since mid-October, things have been better.
Development Authority Assistant Secretary Bryan Quinsey says the statewide slowdown has hurt Columbia County.
The economy "has picked up significantly," Bryan Quinsey told members of Columbia County's Development Authority last week.
Quinsey - the assistant secretary of the authority - handles day-to-day business recruitment for the county.
He said the summer wasn't good, even for state-level business recruiters.
"When they aren't getting projects, we aren't getting projects either," he said.
After the attacks on Sept. 11, most development slowed to a standstill. But local economic development officials were kept busy planning the groundbreaking for the Horizon North Business Park off Lewiston Road.
But in recent weeks, more companies are beginning to look beyond the nation's the current recession, Quinsey said.
Meanwhile, officials are looking more at a regional approach to attracting companies to the area.
State Rep. Ben Harbin said Columbia County should take a more public role in the regional recruitment of businesses and industries.
"We are not second to anyone," Harbin said. "We have to be willing to thump our chest and (tell) everybody how great (Columbia County) is."
Commissioner Frank Spears encouraged authority members to focus on selling the county's speculative building in the Horizon South Industrial. The 128,000-square-foot building, finished in 1998, has not sold despite various marketing efforts across the state.
"I sure wish we could move that," he said, adding that it might be time to lower the asking price.. "It's not making us any money where it is sitting now."
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