Airbus: Signed, sealed, delivered

Published 3:59pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

This time, the contracts are signed, sealed and delivered, with no politics to pull the rug out from under Mobile and plans for a major aerospace project.
And that is definitely good news for Escambia County, where there are industrial parks waiting and communities ready to welcome spinoff industries from Airbus, which will build a 1,000-employee plant at Brookley Field in Mobile.
Jim Searcy, the executive director of the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance, said he believes there are county sites that are primed and ready for suppliers for the plant.
Atmore’s Rivercane development, located right off of Interstate 65, would be a natural fit, as would Brewton’s industrial park.
Ironically, if suppliers do locate in our county, mayors Ted Jennings of Brewton and Howard Shell of Atmore will be out of office; both are set to retire later this year. But their support of economic development and growing their cities will be their legacy.
In Brewton, our quality of life is strong; good schools and beautiful parks are among the attractions for any new industry, besides just a ready industrial park.
“Both mayors have prepared their communities well,” Searcy said Monday, just after Mobile and Airbus announced the deal was done.
Make no mistake, the Airbus deal is a big one — not just because of the current plans but because of the possibilities for the future.
“This could be our Mercedes for the state,” Searcy said, recalling that after Tuscaloosa landed Alabama’s first auto manufacturer, it wasn’t long before the state became the Detroit of the South.
It’s exciting to watch south Alabama on the brink of great things — and we believe that Escambia County will be part of those changes, because of the preparations that have already been made, not only in creating industrial sites but in ensuring a strong quality of life.

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