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Prospects aplenty in China but no IDA money to court them

Barnesville-Lamar County is hot in China right now ‘“ particularly in the town of Yueqing, the hometown of General Protecht president Wusheng Chen. The mayor of Yueqing (pronounced Vaching) and Chen have invited local officials to come to China where they have identified multiple prospects interested in locating and creating jobs here. ’They have undertaken a major initiative. The potential there for foreign investment here is huge. They are very interested in us coming to China. The mayor and Mr. Chen have invited us. We need to mine this opportunity,’ Kenny Roberts said Feb. 12 at his final meeting as IDA chairman. Roberts and IDA executive director Missy Kendrick were to take part in a state excursion to China in April but the $13,000 per person cost was too great. The IDA recently lost a portion of its funding from the county and budget support from the Town of Aldora. GP project manager Ned Wang was in Barnesville earlier this month and reiterated the need for the China trip, Kendrick added. IDA board members were adamant that funding for the trip be secured via grants, a local initiative or via other means. ’We’ve got to get there somehow,’ Roberts said. In the meantime, Barnesville is pursuing an offer from the mayor of Yueqing that the two become official sister cities. That process takes about six months. Kendrick noted Yueqing has about 1.5 million residents, ‘but that is a small town in China,’ she said. ’Mr. Chen has always said his dream is to have a Chinese industrial park here in Barnesville. I have no doubt the General Protecht project will develop,’ Roberts concluded.

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