County ‘in the running'

Published 1:30 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Escambia County would be in the running for supplier sites if Mobile wins the opportunity to host a new aeriel refueling tanker facility.
EADS North America and Northrup Grumman are competing for a U.S. Air Force contract to build the new tankers - a project that could bring a 1,000 emlpoyee plant to the city.
Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority President Wiley Blankenship said state officials have visited several Escambia County sites that could be supplier sites if the deal goes through.
State officials in the past month have also visited sites in Conecuh and Monroe counties, the other two partners in the CGEDA, Blankenship said.
The Air Force could make a decision as early as this summer about the tanker project, the Mobile Press-Register reported last month.
But the economic development organization is staying busy in other ways, too, he said.
CGEDA had 12 prospect site visits in the last four weeks alone, he said.
Meanwhile, questions about the problems associated with hurricane season are fading, Blankenship said, especially for prospects interested in counties farther inland.
But insurance costs and taxes remain high in coastal counties - which can benefit Escambia and its partner counties.
No matter what, though, he emphasized that economic development deals take time - particularly those as complicated as the EADS project.

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