News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Move ahead on first-class industrial park

Financing the purchase of land and putting in infrastructure at Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park almost two decades ago was a major sell. Some county commissioners and mayors were skeptical of spending $15 million to build a place where no industries had committed to locate.

The vision for that park came out of Decatur and the Morgan County Economic Development Association. Unfortunately, that made the sell even harder because of intra-county rivalries.

Having seen the success of Mallard Fox and its maturity should make the proposed park along Interstate 65 a bit easier for government entities to support and finance even if the price will be much more now. Morgan County commissioners this week voiced their support for the park, joining Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, who earlier embraced the proposal.

Mallard Fox proved that all areas of the county benefit from the jobs that come to an industrial park. The smaller municipalities along the interstate — Hartselle, Falkville and Priceville — can use Mallard Fox as a pattern. The three municipalities commissioned a study in 2002 that recommended land within a 12-mile interstate corridor for development. Mallard Fox had a master plan that guided development there. Hopefully, the proposed park will have one, too.

Morgan County needs this industrial park as the trend continues to locate industries along interstates, and Morgan County needs a first-class park to attract the right jobs.

If Mallard Fox were not first class, the county might not now have The Boeing Co. ( United Launch Alliance), Worthington Steel, Nucor Steel, Feralloy Corp., Monarch Steel, Mi-Tech Steel, Bailey-PVS Oxides, Neo Industries, Hexcel, Independence Tube Corp., Friedman Industries and OCI Chemicals.

Let's think big again in developing the next industrial park.

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