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Conference center a benefit to city, county

Anyone who drove down Highway 145 in Clanton this past week undoubtedly noticed all the Alabama Power vehicles parked at Jefferson State Community College’s local campus and the adjacent parking lots. If not, maybe the large American flag held up by two cranes caught your eye.

If you’re curious about what was going on, see the Friday edition of the newspaper. Alabama Power Company was holding one of its “safety renewal” sessions, which employees are required to attend once a year. They hear from a speaker about the importance of safety on the job, meet vendors, network with other employees and even see a demonstration on power line work.

About 900 APCO workers from across the state visited Clanton on Wednesday and Thursday.

Two things stand out about this event. First, Alabama Power takes safety seriously. Second, Clanton and Chilton County are fortunate to have a facility that could meet the demands of such an event.

The safety renewal was held at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, which is connected to the local Jeff State campus but owned by the city of Clanton, and demonstrated the facility’s capacity of hosting a variety of events.

In its relatively short existence, CPAC has served as the site of everything from art festivals to fly-ball tournaments, where trained dogs compete in timed events.

Alabama Power had a speaker with an audience of several hundred people and meals served in the large exhibit hall. Smaller rooms were occupied by vendors. And outside, the company had space to set up the demonstration, complete with full-size infrastructure.

The company didn’t need the auditorium, but it’s there for those who do.

This was the first year for the safety renewal to be held in Clanton. Previous years have seen it hosted by cities including Montgomery and Bessemer.

Local business, and thus residents, should be glad such an event came to the city and county, as hundreds of out-of-towners visited the area, spending money and likely developing a positive impression of our home.

None of it would have been possible without a conference center capable of meeting the company’s needs.