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Gadsden County Development Council moves into new home

The Gadsden County Development Council had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open its new office in downtown Quincy on May 8.

About 40 people assembled for the event to welcome the council to its new home in a beautiful brick building on the southeast corner of Madison and King streets (221 Madison Street) in downtown Quincy. The council previously had been using temporary quarters in the William M. Inman Agricultural Center, located on Jefferson Street farther west in Quincy.

“As we negotiated our last contract with the county, we were looking for our own space in an area with much higher visibility,” said Beth Kirkland, executive director of the council. “This building fits that bill exactly.” The goal of the Gadsden County Development Council is to facilitate economic development, job creation and capital investment in Gadsden County through sound policy, prepared product and effective marketing.

The Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners worked together with the council to help the council fund this new building. “The Board of County Commissioners is happy to partner with the council and provide them this building to help them in their efforts to bring jobs and prosperity to Gadsden County,” said county commission chair Brenda Holt. “We have a lot of economic development work to do in Gadsden County. The council has been working hard and showing results. That is why we happily support them.”

The council is run by a board of directors that is comprised of essential partners from industry, education and government. The council is a public-private partnership which operates as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Antonio Jefferson, board chairman of the council, was quick to praise the council for the work it has been doing.

“In the last four years, the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners has invested a little over one-half million dollars in economic development in this community,” Jefferson said. “We have matched that investment almost 2-to-1 through our own skin-in-the-game, as well as grant awards for technical assistance, site due diligence and infrastructure development.”

“As a result,” Jefferson continued, “we have helped an average of 12 companies per year evaluate Gadsden as a new or expansion location. This level of company engagement has multiplied the reach of our targeted marketing. Six location announcements have created more than 120 jobs and $10 million of new annual economic impact in Gadsden County.”

Susie West, chair-elect of the council, was equally excited about the council’s future. “The Gadsden County Development Council has made significant strides and impact across our community,” West said. “That is why I am so happy to see our organization establish an office right here in the county seat of Quincy. This opportunity allows us to expand staff and increase accessibility.”

“We look forward to more advances in talent and infrastructure development coupled with company announcements of capital investment and job creation,” West concluded.

Kirkland also used the opportunity of the ribbon-cutting to announce two new staff members for the council: Jill Blackman, director of programs, and Leona Ross, office coordinator. Blackman is a Havana resident with a bachelor’s of science in political science from Florida State University. Ross is a graduate of Xavier University with a bachelor’s of arts in professional communications.

For more information about the Gadsden County Development Council, visit or call (850) 212-1056.

Randall Lieberman