Athens Economic Development Corporation Contributes to Cain Center Construction

Entrance of the Cain Center
Dec 17, 2020
Katie BIrk

The Athens Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is contributing $100,000 to the construction of the Cain Center. The Athens City Council approved the EDC funding during its meeting Monday night.

The move is a result of government cooperation, according to Athens Director of Economic Development Joanie Ahlers, and could have a far-reaching impact on the Cain Center.

"It came as a result of Athens City Manager Elizabeth Borstad sitting on our board and running the Cain Center project, and Cliff Bomer sitting on our board and the Cain Center Steering Committee," said Ahlers.

Ahlers said Bomer, as a member of the Steering Committee, knew there were concerns about funding the Cain Center project. He convinced the EDC board to get involved. Borstad explained to the board that the greatest need could come in operations and maintenance of the Cain Center after construction is complete.

In order to help with maintenance and operations, however, the law requires the EDC to be involved in the construction phase.

"That's how the economic development law works," said Ahlers. "They don't want to create undo financial burden, which is why if you are part of the construction you can help pay for the maintenance."

Which is how the $100,000 contribution from Monday could continue to have importance long after construction is complete.

"If we help build it, we can then help pay to operate it," Ahlers said.

And for Ahlers, a thriving Cain Center is an important part of economic development.

"I like to look at economic development as holistic," she said. "It's not just bringing in a call center that creates jobs. It is making sure once those jobs get here those people want to live here and live in the City. But in order to get people to live here and spend their money here, they have to like it here."