WHAT'S WORKING: Blount County looks to boost tourism and jobs - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

WHAT'S WORKING: Blount County looks to boost tourism and jobs

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ONEONTA, AL -

Just straight northeast of Jefferson County, Blount County is known as a top producer of freshly vine-ripe tomatoes in Alabama, breathtaking mountain-top views and a network of closely-knit families.  The picturesque county, which spans a little more than 650 square miles ranging in various elevations, is also considered the Covered Bridge Capitol of Alabama.

Less than 45 minutes from Birmingham, Blount County is home to more than 57,800 residents often described as hard-working, faith-focused and family-oriented.

The country seat is Oneonta, a small city, geographically nestled in the southwest region of the county.

On the job front, the Alabama Department of Labor April 2013 data lists the county's unemployment rate at 5.0%; which is lower than that state's non-seasonally adjusted rate of 6.0%.  However like many other Alabama counties considered as rural,  Blount County has endured job losses. More than 80% of those who live in the county commute out of Blount for employment. As for industries in the area, the recession has affected the number of good available jobs as well.  At the end of July 2013,  American Apparel which once employed hundreds in Oneonta will officially close.

Amid the lack of industrial- type jobs, elected officials along with leaders at the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce are launching proactive steps to directly address attracting more companies to the county as well as people.

From highlighting the county's beautiful natural resources to discussions of creating an economic development board specifically aimed at identifying a wide range of industries that will successfully flourish in the county, Blount County officials affirm that the future of the county economically is bright.

In this Alabama's 13 What's Working report, journalist Bettina Boateng, producer Danielle Deavours and photojournalist Ben Bryson take you to the vista of  Blount County to introduce you to the faces, places  to hear what citizens and county leaders believe is working in Blount  County, please click the video player to  view the online video report.

Links to resources mentioned in the report are listed below:

Blount County Chamber of Commerce:  http://www.blountoneontachamber.org/

Blount County Commission: http://www.co.blount.al.us/

Allman Farms : https://www.facebook.com/AllmanFarms

City of Oneonta: http://www.cityofoneonta.us/

Palisades Park : http://www.blountcountypark.com/

Spring Valley Beach: http://www.springvalleybeach.com/

Limestone Springs:  http://www.limestonesprings.com/limestone.asp?id=29&page=2051

Rickwood Caverns: http://www.alapark.com/rickwoodcaverns/

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