West Point’s successful year of economic growth celebrated

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2023

To cap off a successful year of economic growth for West Point, City Manager Ed Moon was recognized with the 2022 Larry Hobart 7 Hats award from the American Public Power Association.

“I was very honored to receive that,” Moon said. “MEAG Power nominated me for the award, and I certainly appreciate them doing that.”

The PPA gives out the national award every year to managers of cities with 25,000 or fewer electric meters. The award recognizes the variety of responsibilities and duties city managers have in small communities. 

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Moon began his career with the city of West Point 18 years ago. Since then, he has worn many different hats in his service to the community. 

Often, city managers of small communities have to be responsible for more than their share. Moon has had his hand in managing aspects as far-reaching as economic development, community development and public safety.

“We’ve fostered an environment here in West Point that makes it friendly for companies to come in here and set up to do business, and Ed is at the forefront of that,” said West Point Mayor Steve Tramell.

Soon, Moon will have some duties taken off his plate as the former economic development director, Megan Richardson, returns, according to Tramell.

“He’s been wearing 14 hats, in my opinion, for the last year and a half, and he’ll be able to remove one of those hats as Megan Duke comes back to us as economic development director starting next week … It can’t be more well-deserved that he got this,” Tramell said. “He is a consummate professional and has been doing this for years and years and years and knows exactly what he’s doing. So I’m extremely thankful that we have him as the city manager.”

On March 29, Georgia Trends Magazine highlighted West Point and Moon as Urban and Rural Gamechangers. With the expansion of Hyundai TRANSYS, the city has received some attention for its economic growth.

The Hyundai TRANSYS power-train plant is investing $280 million in a 620,000-square-foot facility. The expansion is bringing 678 new jobs into the area.

“This community has invested in the automotive industry, and the automotive industry has invested in West Point, and it’s been very good for the community,” Moon said. “I think, certainly with Kia’s success, it’s been beneficial to them.”

Kia MOBIS also announced an expansion to its West Point plant. The $94-million expansion will add a 250,000-square-foot facility. The expansion will bring 60 jobs to the community. 

The publication also highlighted economic projects in communities across the state, large and small. 

“The article itself, to me, just shows that a community of our size, being small, can be successful in locating and supporting a large international company with the support of the elected officials and city staff and the community,” Moon said.

The industrial economic growth of West Point has been important for the city.

“The more industrial growth we can have, the less of the burden it’ll be on our citizens who pay twice the tax of 90% of the county,” Tramell said.

Since the economic recession in 2008, the city of West Point has remained steady. Through all the ups and downs, the city budget has stayed fixed or increased, Moon said. 

“Being successful here in West Point is attributed to having a great mayor and council to work for for all these years, having a great community to work in. So without those things, it makes it more difficult to be successful,” Moon said. “So, again, as I’m reaching these years in my career, I think that that shines a light on the fact that this is a good community to be in.”