- Associated Press - Sunday, March 23, 2014

PIEDMONT, Ala. (AP) - Piedmont city officials say they’re considering hiring an industry recruiter or undergo an analysis by a local university to try reviving the city’s local economy.

Mayor Bill Baker tells the Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/1gfHNrA ) that Piedmont - which is about 25 miles northeast of Anniston - is considering having Jacksonville State University assess the city’s retail sector to try determining its assets and needs.

“If you can land some industry, you’re going to start getting jobs,” said city councilman Mark Harper. “It’s still going to be a couple of years before retail catches up.”

The newspaper reports that downtown Piedmont has lost several longtime businesses in recent years and the lack. Recruiting new industries to the area could help Piedmont residents get the kinds of jobs that would give them enough disposable income to eventually support local retail businesses, said Jacksonville State University economics professor Christopher Westley.


The median annual income for Piedmont residents was $33,470 for a five-year period ending in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure is lower than both the state and county medians.

Jacksonville State University economics professor Christopher Westley suggested that Piedmont and cities in similar situations attract out-of-town visitors with unique retail offerings and develop industries to support the local economy.

“There is no reason why their manufacturing base could not resurrect itself,” Westley said. “What makes a city grow is investment. They need capital to come in.”

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Information from: The Anniston Star, http://www.annistonstar.com/