March 5, 2013

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Macon County Site in Running for Five Projects, Hundreds of Jobs

By Brad Harper- The Montgomery Advertiser

A Notasulga-area site already has drawn interest from at least five major industry projects representing tens of millions of dollars in investment and hundreds of new jobs, a Macon County official said one day after the site won a rare industry-ready certification from CSX Rail.

“With the hit the community has taken with VictoryLand closing, this is really important for us,” said Joe Turnham of the Macon County Economic Development Authority. “And even if VictoryLand was open, we need to diversify our economy.”

Turnham said potential projects include timber fiber processing, food processing, warehouse distribution and automotive manufacturing, with an initial investment that could range from $30 million to about $200 million.

He estimated potential job salaries at $40,000 to $60,000.

“These are jobs where you can send your kid to college,” Turnham said.

The 296-acre site borders the CSX rail line near Interstate 85 and currently is part of the Beck’s Turf Farm system.

On Monday, CSX named it one of eight “select sites” nationwide. The process takes into account the size of the location, ease of access, infrastructure, workforce availability and other factors to determine the top industry development targets along the CSX system. Other sites are in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Austin Consulting and the county’s development authority worked together to prepare and engineer the site throughout the two-year certification process. Turnham said the designation “almost assures the site will receive a major industry.”

State and local leaders gathered at the site Monday to announce the designation, and Turnham said the number of officials on hand — including Gov. Robert Bentley and state Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield — underscored how much it means for the area

Macon County had a non-adjusted unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in December, and Turnham said many of those who do have jobs are commuters who work in other counties because of the limited options near home.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Any county would love to have this."



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