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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2007
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Morgan passing resolutions to support robotics center

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The City Council here passed a resolution supporting a state-of-the art robotics center Gov. Bob Riley is proposing at Calhoun Community College.

Hartselle adopted the same resolution the Morgan County Economic Development Authority is asking all governments in the county to pass.

The Morgan County Commission passed the resolution Tuesday morning.

"This will be something good for this area and we need it here," Chairman John Glasscock said.

Hartselle, without any dissention, passed the resolution Tuesday night.

"If we could get something like this in Decatur, it would be a great asset for the entire region," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

Almost 10 months ago, during a campaign stop in the area, Riley hinted that Decatur might be the ideal place for his dream of a world-class robotics center.

During a follow-up visit in January, the governor said Calhoun had competition for the center, which he wants to be the only center in the state.

He also told Calhoun officials that the 10 acres on the north end of campus was not enough for the center he envisions.

"If that isn't big enough, we'll find the land," Calhoun President Marilyn Beck said in January.

Some local leaders are suggesting the vacant Lurleen B. Wallace Center property on U.S. 31 as a possible site. The state closed the center in 2003 and owns 159 acres south of Decatur.

Although there are competitors, Riley said North Alabama is preferable because of Huntsville's high-tech community and the area's industrial base.

"This area is the logical place for the center because of what is already at Calhoun," Tankersley said.

The resolution points out that Morgan County has nearly 200 manufacturing facilities and 19 Fortune 500 companies.

It also mentions that Calhoun has received a $5 million Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development grant to help integrate robotics training into a regional economic development plan.

Tankersley and Glasscock said it's important for every government in Morgan County to pass the resolution.

"We need to present a united front and let the governor know that we want it here," Tankersley said.

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