City exploring job creation

Published 1:07 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
The City of Brewton, like many small municipalities, is turning an eye toward it neighbors in the area of economic development, seeking out partnerships that can help draw businesses whose economic impact will cross city and county borders.
City representatives appear well on their way to forming such an alliance. Although the city has taken no official action, Mayor Ted Jennings and other economic development leaders from Brewton have been meeting with their counterparts from the cities of Evergreen and Monroeville, as well as Conecuh and Monroe Counties.
The reason? All of these entities have a stake in luring an industry interested in locating on or near I-65.
Working together to make this happen -- acquisition of a business that would benefit all involved -- simply makes sense, and is in keeping with the way small and mid-sized cities have to approach development.
The entities involved in the talks -- which Jennings said were only preliminary at this stage -- don't have a specific industry in mind. In general, they want to be well-prepared to pursue large employers interested in located on or near a major corridor like I-65.
Behind much of their desire to work together has been the way Hyundai's location in Mobile has led to industrial growth along the interstate. The Hyundai plant is serviced by suppliers and support industries which have located along the I-65 corridor for easy access to their auto-manufacturing customer.
This has shown how industry seeking such access -- be they auto-related or otherwise -- can benefit the communities they locate in, and the areas surrounding them
And the "areas surrounding them" part of the equation is key. Though the entities Brewton representatives are in talks with don't have a specific industry in mind, they do have a location, in Conecuh County.
In other words, people may work in a neighboring county, but they can live, shop and seek other services wherever they choose.
The site in Conecuh County has not been purchased, but the owners have been contacted about that possibility.
Jennings said that he has been encouraged by the talks with Brewton's neighbors. If the current "fact-finding" discussions continue to bear fruit, the next step would be for the entities to jointly form a body which would actively seek an industry to locate on the proposed Conecuh County site.
Jennings is quick to mention that the ongoing discussions with other cities and counties will have no impact in Brewton's marketing of its own industrial park, located inside the city in Highway 31.
The current talks are geared only toward businesses seeking a site with direct interstate access -- something wholly separate from industries who want an inside-the-city location such as that offered by the industrial park.

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