Brainstorming session

Leaders asked for ideas to develop former Alcoa smelter

A seven-county region of Central Texas wants to unite behind an idea to again use the former Alcoa Rockdale Operations smelter.

It’s just that nobody knows what that idea is, yet.

About 50 community leaders gathered for a brainstorming session Monday at the Patterson Civic Center.

The Regional Economic Revitalization and Utilization Planning Council (Rev-up) conducted the session, which concluded with participants asked to write down their ideas for further study.

While infrastructure upgrades were the most popular submitted, other ideas ranged from developing fishing in Alcoa Lake to investment strategies to technology.

“ We’re wanting to gather momentum around a set of ideas, or a single idea if possible,” Jim Reid of the Central Texas Council of Governments, said.

Reid said obtaining federal funding could be the next step in the process.

Rev-up identified the following possibilities for using the ex-Alcoa smelter:

• Military training facility.

• Inland port (facility on a lake or river with some functions of a deep-water port).

• Texas Engineering Extension Service “Disaster City” training facility.

• Site for energy projects.

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