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George Crawford, chairman of the Industrial Development Board of East Morgan County, at the State Surplus Building in Eva Industrial Park. 'We've always tried to do what is best for Morgan County, and that's what we want to continue to do,' Crawford says.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
George Crawford, chairman of the Industrial Development Board of East Morgan County, at the State Surplus Building in Eva Industrial Park. "We've always tried to do what is best for Morgan County, and that's what we want to continue to do," Crawford says.

Growing East Morgan County
Industrial board works quietly
for economic development

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

EVA — Sometime this year, the Industrial Development Board of East Morgan County may vote to help an existing business that plans a $3 million expansion.

Board Chairman George Crawford met Friday with a Huntsville contractor about an incentive package, but he can't release details of the meeting.

He did say the man has a contract with the federal government to supply missile parts for the U.S. Department of Defense.

A company in Lacey's Spring, where the expansion may occur, has a contract with the contractor to assemble missile parts.

Established by a legislative act in 1988, the East Morgan board has quietly accumulated more than $1 million in assets, and has brought jobs to the eastern part of the county that probably wouldn't be there without the board's help.

"We've just tried to stay under the radar and do what we thought was best for the county," said Crawford, a charter board member.

Although city and county leaders plan a second county industrial park along the Interstate 65 corridor between Hartselle and Falkville, Crawford says the board needs to stay intact.

"We have a lot we have done and a lot of things that we're working on," he said.

The board is providing 81,000 square feet of floor space for six clients, including 25,000 square feet for a state surplus warehouse. These companies account for more than 100 jobs in eastern Morgan County.

When county and municipal officials approved bonds to construct Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park along the Tennessee River in 1987, there was a feeling among residents in the eastern part of the county that they were not represented.

That's when local lawmakers created the board to promote industrial and economic growth in east Morgan County.

To fund the organization, the act requires the County Commission to set aside 8 percent of its Tennessee Valley Authority in lieu of tax dollars.

Last year, that amounted to $208,000 for the board. In addition to its more than $1 million in assets, Crawford said the board has about $1.3 million in the bank.

"We operate with an open book and our records are open to anyone," he said.

One of the first projects the seven-member board handled was a sewer line and lift station and a water line for Lone Wolf Trailer Co., a manufacturing company on Buster Road near I-65 in Falkville.

"The land wouldn't perk so when it rained they had to go downtown to use the bathroom," Crawford remembered. "They were talking about moving the jobs elsewhere, but we kept them here with the sewer and water line."

Since then, a company that makes playground equipment and an axle manufacturing company have located in the area.

"It's become a small industrial park," Crawford said. "Some of the companies consolidated their businesses to Falkville."

The state surplus facility, a furniture company and machine shop are in the 57-acre Eva Industrial Park, a park the board developed and owns.

"This has been an asset for that community," Crawford said.

District 4 County Commissioner Stacy George said the surplus warehouse brings government people from across the state to Eva.

He has purchased furniture and at least five county vehicles from the warehouse.

Crawford said the board owns three buildings at Lacey's Spring that provide 32,000 square feet of floor space to three different companies.

He said most of the companies moved to Morgan County from Huntsville and support the arsenal.

Crawford said the board gave the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce help in the Base Realignment Closure Commission recruiting efforts.

The board last week passed a unanimous resolution asking the county for permission to pledge funds to the new industrial park.

"We want to participate in that project," Crawford said. "We've always tried to do what is best for Morgan County and that's what we want to continue to do."

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