• 79°

County Commission looking at possible industries

LaFAYETTE — Macon County, Ala., is on the verge of a final commitment to have a $300 million aircraft production plant locating near Tuskegee. This would create an estimated 750 new jobs at the new plant and upwards to 4,000 jobs in supplier plants that would be located along the I-85 corridor.

Kim Davis of the Macon County Economic Development Authority talked about this at Monday’s meeting of the Chambers County Commission.

“This project is a game changer not just for Macon County but for other communities along I-85,” she said. “We are asking all surrounding communities to support us in fulfilling this opportunity. We also need the full support of the Alabama congressional delegation. We think a final solution on where it will be locating will be made around the first of July.”

If this major manufacturing and assembly plant does come to Tuskegee, the east Alabama region will owe a debt of gratitude to the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

According to Davis, officials from the Italian company that would be coming here have a special interest in building the plant at Moton Field, where the Tuskegee Airmen trained in the early 1940s. The Tuskegee Airmen were based in Italy during World War II.

The company looking to locate somewhere in the U.S. is known as Leonardo-DRS. It’s the largest defense contractor in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. They will be building the T-100 jet trainer in the new plant.

“This is a state-of-the-art 21st Century trainer jet currently used by our allies including Italy, Israel, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore,” Davis said.

The U.S. Air Force will be using the trainer jet to prepare pilots for the new F-35, a fifth-generation combat aircraft that’s designed to perform ground attack and air superiority missions.

Davis noted that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen being based in Italy.

“We would be coming full circle with an Italian company coming back to the roots of the Tuskegee Airmen,” she said. “The color barrier for flight was broken for all time at Moton Field.”

Davis thanked the Chambers County Commission on having unanimously approved a resolution supporting Macon County’s bid for the project. They did that at their April 9 meeting.

The new Leonardo-DRS plant is expected to generate an estimated $300 million in new revenue in the local community.

“It will impact retail and service industries all along the corridor,” Davis said.

In other action on Monday, Molly Kiser gave a quarterly report on the Community Corrections program, which is in its first year. The goal of the program is to integrate nonviolent offenders back into the work place. Kiser told the commissioners that over $25,000 had been collected from the state for doing this and that 38 people were in the program.

“All are in compliance for now,” she said.

The program could generate an estimated $135,000 over three quarters.

“When they graduate they don’t have to answer a probation officer,” Kiser said. “They have completed what they have to do.”

The commissioners approved a resolution to seek a variance from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at the county landfill. If approved, the variance would allow Knauf to take wet fiberglass from their plant in Huguley to the local landfill.

Another resolution approved by the commissioners directs PH& J Architects, Montgomery, to come up with plans for the improvements that are needed at the county jail. The schematics have been completed and approved. The next phase is the actual design.

County Engineer Josh Harvill told the commissioners that the county had a very successful electronic waste pickup at the highway department building. Over 6,000 pounds of unwanted items was collected. Included in the haul were old computers, monitors, word processors, TV sets, VCR’s, DVDs. radios, printers, copiers, fax machines, phones, pagers, cameras and microwave ovens. Harvill thanked Valley Mayor Leonard Riley for coordinating the pickup with the county.

The recycling company was at the highway department from Monday through Thursday and at the Valley Farmers’ Market pavilion on Friday and Saturday.

Harvill said that County Road 263 would be closed next week in the northeast part of the county to allow for the installation of a big pipe under the road. A portion of road that’s close to two miles in length is affected.

“It will be closed for a full week, maybe more, depending on the weather,” Harvill said.

Kim Davis of the Macon County Economic Development Authority talked about this at Monday’s meeting of the Chambers County Commission.

“This project is a game changer not just for Macon County but for other communities along I-85,” she said. “We are asking all surrounding communities to support us in fulfilling this opportunity. We also need the full support of the Alabama congressional delegation. We think a final solution on where it will be locating will be made around the first of July.”

If this major manufacturing and assembly plant does come to Tuskegee, the east Alabama region will owe a debt of gratitude to the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

According to Davis, officials from the Italian company that would be coming here have a special interest in building the plant at Moton Field, where the Tuskegee Airmen trained in the early 1940s. The Tuskegee Airmen were based in Italy during World War II.

The company looking to locate somewhere in the U.S. is known as Leonardo-DRS. It’s the largest defense contractor in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. They will be building the T-100 jet trainer in the new plant.

“This is a state-of-the-art 21st Century trainer jet currently used by our allies including Italy, Israel, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore,” Davis said.

The U.S. Air Force will be using the trainer jet to prepare pilots for the new F-35, a fifth-generation combat aircraft that’s designed to perform ground attack and air superiority missions.

Davis noted that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen being based in Italy.

“We would be coming full circle with an Italian company coming back to the roots of the Tuskegee Airmen,” she said. “The color barrier for flight was broken for all time at Moton Field.”

Davis thanked the Chambers County Commission on having unanimously approved a resolution supporting Macon County’s bid for the project. They did that at their April 9 meeting.

The new Leonardo-DRS plant is expected to generate an estimated $300 million in new revenue in the local community.

“It will impact retail and service industries all along the corridor,” Davis said.

In other action on Monday, Molly Kiser gave a quarterly report on the Community Corrections program, which is in its first year. The goal of the program is to integrate nonviolent offenders back into the work place. Kiser told the commissioners that over $25,000 had been collected from the state for doing this and that 38 people were in the program.

“All are in compliance for now,” she said.

The program could generate an estimated $135,000 over three quarters.

“When they graduate they don’t have to answer a probation officer,” Kiser said. “They have completed what they have to do.”

The commissioners approved a resolution to seek a variance from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at the county landfill. If approved, the variance would allow Knauf to take wet fiberglass from their plant in Huguley to the local landfill.

Another resolution approved by the commissioners directs PH& J Architects, Montgomery, to come up with plans for the improvements that are needed at the county jail. The schematics have been completed and approved. The next phase is the actual design.

County Engineer Josh Harvill told the commissioners that the county had a very successful electronic waste pickup at the highway department building. Over 6,000 pounds of unwanted items was collected. Included in the haul were old computers, monitors, word processors, TV sets, VCR’s, DVDs. radios, printers, copiers, fax machines, phones, pagers, cameras and microwave ovens. Harvill thanked Valley Mayor Leonard Riley for coordinating the pickup with the county.

The recycling company was at the highway department from Monday through Thursday and at the Valley Farmers’ Market pavilion on Friday and Saturday.

Harvill said that County Road 263 would be closed next week in the northeast part of the county to allow for the installation of a big pipe under the road. A portion of road that’s close to two miles in length is affected.

“It will be closed for a full week, maybe more, depending on the weather,” Harvill said.