County leaders celebrate the opening of The Venue 2

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By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

On Monday, December 4, the City of Gadsden and numerous Etowah County officials cut the ribbon on a new coworking space and event venue named “The Venue 2.”

The Venue 2 is located in the same building as The Venue at Coosa Landing. The original Venue, the large multi-use rental facility located on the banks of the Coosa River, features 500,000 square feet of space for conventions, corporate parties, board meetings, dances and more. This year it was the sight of the annual CommUnity Thanksgiving meal.

Attached to The Venue was 7,000 square feet of unused space, which has now been transformed it into a new home for the Etowah County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and several other offices, including a Jacksonville State University office. It will also be the future home of a planning office for the leaders of the UltraSafe Nuclear plant that will begin construction around 2025.

“This isn’t a competition to The Venue,” Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford said. “This is an addition to the usefulness of The Venue.”

The new co-working space features state-of-the-art meeting rooms, offices and spaces for collaboration, according to Ford, the building is the “premiere co-working space in northeast Alabama.”

The credit for the project was spread across many municipalities and leaders, including former Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton who attended the ribbon cutting Monday.

“This is something I get to take credit for, but it was really done by other people,” Ford joked. “The former administration left the city in great fiscal shape and because of that we can do things that will benefit the City of Gadsden.”

Guyton spoke briefly about the project and how Gadsden is growing.

“Us old guys were too tired to spend all that money, but that’s not a problem with this group,” Guyton joked. “Gadsden is growing in the right direction and it is exciting to see where it is heading.”

Apart from praising Guyton and his past team, Ford also praised IDA Executive Director David Hooks.

“David and I have been to D.C. a few times now and every time we go there are different senators or congressmen or whoever that will round the corner and go ‘There’s David Hooks!’ and every time it happens I’m thinking ‘Yes, Gadsden is about to get some money’,” Ford said. “David knows everybody and knows how to make things happen. We are fortunate to have him working with the IDA. We have some exciting things we hope to announce soon that David had a hand in, but he won’t let me talk about those things, yet.”

Hooks, who was hired to his position in 2019, then stepped up to the microphone and told the crowd and Ford that they could not say anything due to “a little something called a non-disclosure agreement.”

The ribbon cutting saw large crowds full of neighboring cities’ mayors, Etowah County Commissioners, Gadsden City Councilpersons, local educational leaders, business owners, Gadsden-Etowah Chamber members and members of the IDA board.

After the ribbon cutting, the crowd made its way through The Venue 2 pointing out different features, like the several two-person work pods outfitted with electrical outlets, cushioned seats and padded walls to eliminate excess noise.

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