Leaders hope Masters fun brings year-round jobs

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, April 5, 2010

AUGUSTA---The annual Mayor's Masters Reception is being held today at the Augusta Common. Billy Casper is this year's honoree. He'll be presented with a key to the city, and guests get a chance to sample food from over 40 local restaurants. Meanwhile, the Red Carpet Tour rolls out for the 51st time this Thursday, and that means big companies are heading to Augusta.

Traffic and crowds are all a part of the Masters experience, but then there's the posh side of things.

Sloane Wiggins serves the Masters VIPs. "It's awesome," Sloane said. "We get to show off. We get to say 'Come on in. Have a good time.' And it's not like work. It's fun."

The Red Carpet Tour is a cool place to catch the action on the course while enjoying refreshments and learning why city leaders say Augusta is a prime location for new business.

"We have a lot of companies that are eager to get back to business," said Sue Parr with the Augusta Chamber.

Before the companies even hit the hustle and bustle of Masters, the Development Authority is working what's called Project Zebra--their codename for a company promising 60 new manufacturing jobs.

"As soon as they get the financing worked out," said Walter Sprouse with the Augusta Development Authority. "So we are very optimistic about that, that it is going to happen."

It would be a $78 million investment in Augusta...a great selling point.

"I would imagine this is a little more icing on the cake...that it sort of helps us to stand out."

"They were all headed straight for the gift shop, then out on the course, then back in here," Sloane said. "This is not their first Tournament."

The company codenamed "Project Zebra" is still working on financing the $78 million deal, but talks are underway. Meanwhile, the Mayor's Masters Reception is starting everything off with a bang. It's shaping up to be a good week.

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