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Cramer touts area's economic prospects

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

BELLE MINA — The specifics are hush, hush but the potential for new economic opportunities in North Alabama as a result of BRAC and a recruitment trip to Europe is alive.

U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, said Tuesday after meeting with farmers in Belle Mina, that there are "a few significant irons in the fire, more significant than we've had in a while."

Cramer said he'll meet with Gov. Bob Riley this week to talk with him and officials from the Alabama Development Office. He said the discussion will be issues for all of Alabama, but North Alabama specifically, and the governor's recent trip to Europe.

"I'm working on several projects," Cramer said. "We're under consideration for opportunities, with BRAC, too, on several angles."

BRAC is the federal Base Realignment and Closure process that is relocating jobs to Redstone Arsenal. Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties hope to lure military supply and support companies as a result.

European companies also are interested in the state. In January and February, Riley and other delegations traveled to Europe on industry-recruiting trips.

The Birmingham News reported that among three European plants interested in the state is a railcar company looking at North Alabama.

A Limestone and Morgan County delegation also went to Austria in an attempt to attract a manufacturing facility that would bring 3,000 jobs to Limestone County, Athens Mayor Dan Williams has said.

The site is near Alabama 20 and the Limestone-Morgan county line.

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