FLORENCE, Ala. – What potential does the Shoals area hold? That is the topic which has been studied by hundreds of volunteers over the last several months with some intriguing answers.

It was not just a meeting Tuesday morning with PowerPoints and speeches. The 150 residents in attendance have a vested interest in the greater Shoals area.

“We really have a tremendous community, but we can be so much more,” stated Macke Mauldin. “And now we have the framework of how we are going to make the Greater Shoals a better place to live and work.”

Mauldin helps steer six committees who studied everything from digital infrastructure to quality of life. Their results show several things which are potentially holding the Shoals area back. Topping the list keeping young people in the Shoals – a brain drain if you will.

“Now, we need to have the leadership from both the private and the public sector to get things done,” said Mauldin.

Also a major concern among residents, the duplication of services across city and county lines. There are 41-government entities in Colbert and Lauderdale counties.

Tuscumbia and Sheffield leaders say their operations could be more efficient and save taxpayer dollars through collaboration.

“I think this is something the people would say let’s explore that and see what we can do to become more of a regional, large metropolitan area, instead of all the small entities within it,” Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood said.

With their marching orders, the volunteer committees will discuss public concerns in-depth and suggest ways to fix them.

The Committee for a Greater Shoals will present their findings and suggestions later this year during another public meeting scheduled for November.