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SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, 2005
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EDITORIAL

I-65, Lawrence could be new industrial frontier

Build industrial parks in the right locations and companies will locate in them.

Our best local proof of that is Mallard Fox Industrial Park and Port.

It's about filled now and with some of the best industries that money can buy.

And that's what recruiting is today. It's buying, whether through incentives like roads and infrastructure, tax breaks, or training, or a combination of all three.

Morgan County badly needs to begin work on new industrial and technology parks. To be successful, they must have good transportation.

Interstate 65 offers one of the best north-south routes in the United States, and it slices through the heart of Morgan County.

Several mayors met in Hartselle on Friday afternoon to re-ignite discussion of the proposal for a park on I-65 that could stretch from Priceville to Falkville. They are looking ahead to when their obligation of TVA money they receive in lieu of taxes won't be needed to pay off the Mallard Fox debt. That should happen in a couple years.

Mallard Fox may not have been built if former County Commission Chairman Larry Bennich had not persuaded outlying municipalities to join Decatur in financing the park.

At that time, the perception of Mallard Fox was that it was a Decatur project and only Decatur would benefit.

That isn't true. The entire region shares in the prosperity the park generates. Jobs and disposable income don't stop at municipal or county lines. That's the reason the Economic Development Association wants to expand Mallard Fox into Lawrence County, where rail and water transportation is available.

The I-65 corridor plan has challenges. Hopefully, the Friday meeting helped set the tone for the county's next major push for jobs, whether they are traditional industrial plants or technology companies, and whether they are in Morgan or in Lawrence County.

Like Mallard Fox, these should be countywide projects.

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