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Leaders of communities along a seven county, 80-mile stretch of highway in Northeast Alabama are taking a step toward cooperation next week.

The I-59 Corridor Summit, a regional cooperative effort for economic development, is set for Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Gadsden’s The Venue at Coosa Landing, 201 George Wallace Drive.

“Bringing Neighbors Together” is aimed at connecting cities from Trussville to Fort Payne for economic development, organizers say. Representatives from Jefferson, St. Clair, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, Marshall and DeKalb counties will take part. Planning has taken about a year, with more than 125 people expected to attend.

Among speakers will be Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield; Tami Reist, president and CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, and Ed Castile, deputy secretary of Alabama Commerce’s Workforce Development Division.

For more information, contact Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, at (205) 814-1440, or

Smith said the cooperative effort is patterned on the kind of regional coordination that helped to land Honda in Talladega County along the Interstate 20 corridor.

“It’s important to be able to work outside your city limits to get these desirable employers into our communities,” Smith said. “This is a proven concept. All of the major projects in the state have taken counties working together with other municipalities outside of where the project lands. Ultimately, it’s all about the jobs, and the jobs will have a regional impact.”

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