From dog pounds to downtown, Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce officials met with a small group of local businessmen to discuss community issues and upcoming chamber events.
Chamber Director Carolyn Gilbert and Board Member Sue Richards hosted 12@12 on Wednesday at Thomson's historic Depot Annex.
"I just like to have these for people to get to know each other and I think there were some pretty important issues we discussed," said Gilbert, who has been hosting 12@12 about every other month and hopes to have all of the chamber's 220 members to lunch by the end of the year.
But pizza was not the only thing on the menu. The intimate setting provided some lively discussion about such issues as the operation of the animal shelter, which is set to open Nov. 11, and the ongoing downtown revitalization project.
Local government leaders, such as County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton and City Councilman and Chamber Board Chairman Mike Carrington, were also there to field questions.
"Our downtown area is cute, but it could look a lot better," Gilbert said.
Newton said getting a new Interstate 20 interchange at Three Point Road would greatly improve conditions downtown by alleviating downtown truck traffic, but that won't happen for another three to four years, he said.
Mark Your Calendar
* Dec. 3, tree lighting ceremony
* Dec. 7, Tour of Homes
* Dec. 8, Christmas parade
Decorator Lee Anne Cowart, who has a shop on Main Street, said vibrations from trucks passing by once caused a display cabinet to come crashing down.
"The whole street shook and everything went kablam," she said. "It was a mess."
Richards said the chamber is also working to get a craft festival that would attract more people downtown.
Newton said the county also needs more space for its county offices and could locate in downtown, a move that would create foot-traffic and business in that area. Gilbert said there is also local interest in creating a train museum, which would be a major attraction for the downtown area. The Thomson-McDuffie County Historical Society within the last month secured a location for a new museum in the downtown area.
The animal shelter was another topic of interest. Set to open Nov. 11, it will the be the county's first foray into the animal control business. But residents won't be electing a dog catcher anytime soon. The county has no animal control ordinances and there will be no animal control officer. Volunteers and county workers are expected to man the shelter from 4-6 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays. Fees are still being worked out.
"We're still a rural county and we're all neighborly and there are those who like to have their animals roam," Newton said. "We've had people ask us to have an animal control, but we're not there yet. Our biggest public health problem is from strays."
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