Eight Alabama Communities Named to Participate In Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) Program

Board members of the Alabama Communities of Excellence program today announced that eight Alabama communities have been selected for a pilot program focused on supporting and developing communities to be more competitive in attracting industry.

The Alabama communities chosen to participate in the ACE Program are: Brewton, Monroeville, Demopolis, Wetumpka, Valley, Guin, Haleyville and Guntersville. Communities with populations between 2,000 and 12,000 will have opportunities annually to participate in the ACE program. Communities not selected this year will receive feedback and encouragement to participate in the program in the future.

"Each of these communities has significant potential. The ACE Program will provide support to help their leaders determine a plan of action to maximize opportunities for community development and job growth," said ACE Chairman and Alabama Power Community Development Manager Bob Howard. "The level of commitment demonstrated by these communities throughout the application process leaves little doubt that they will be successful and worthy of the Alabama Communities of Excellence title."

The ACE Program is a comprehensive approach toward developing smaller communities throughout Alabama. Members of a collaborative partnership have joined together to provide a variety of services to these communities in order to create growth and opportunity for sustainability. During the process, each community will receive extensive technical assistance and a documented plan of action with specific goals and strategies for success. The ACE program relies on resources and expertise from state government, private businesses, regional planning agencies and state universities.

"One of the most important aspects of quality job creation is the preparedness of communities. We learned a long time ago that economic developers do not win projects, communities do. The ACE program will go a long way toward helping those selected communities be more competitive," said Alabama Development Office Director Neal Wade.

Communities will be guided through phases of development, including creating an inventory of each community's assets, establishing an ongoing leadership program, identifying a local non-profit ACE coordinator and forming a strategic plan to address comprehensive planning, commercial business development, education enhancement, infrastructure, health and human services and general quality of life and recreation issues.

Upon completion of the third and final phase, the community will be declared an Alabama Community of Excellence and will be featured in state publications and public-private economic development efforts. Each Alabama Community of Excellence will also receive a grant dedicated for local community improvements and continued involvement in the program.

"Our goal is to grow the ACE Program to assist and ensure that communities in every region of this state have the opportunity to meet and exceed their potential," Howard added. "What's good for one community is good for everyone."

In addition to Alabama Power, Alabama Communities of Excellence partners include: Alabama Association of Regional Councils, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Development Office, Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama Southern Rural Access Program, Auburn University's Economic Development Institute, Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, Reading Alabama, Tennessee Valley Authority, Truman Pierce Institute, University of Alabama's Center for Economic Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Regions Financial Corp.

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company , provides reliable, affordable electricity to more than 1.3 million customers across the state.

SOURCE: Alabama Power Company

CONTACT: Carrie Kurlander of Alabama Power, +1-205-257-4155, or