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franklin county times

Big things just around the corner

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Times in Northwest Alabama have never been more exciting for development.
Last week, Gov. Bob Riley announced rail car manufacturer National Alabama Corp. will locate in Barton Riverfront Industrial Park.
This was and still is a big deal for the Shoals but it's going to be a big deal for the area that encompasses it as well.
The average commute for an Alabama driver is about 30 minutes. The drive from Barton from Franklin County falls right inside that 30-minute commute.
With salaries expected to settle in the $15 to $18 per hour range, I'll bet there's more than a handful of people that would be willing to drive a few extra minutes to the National Alabama Corps. plant to punch the clock.
In the past 12 months, we've seen automotive suppliers land all around us: one in Cullman and one in Tupelo, Miss.
Now, we've got a rail car facility expected to create 1800 new jobs slightly to the north.
There's also serious conversation about a major industry looking at Guin.
While what that facility may be is still shrouded in mystery, all the talk I've heard indicate it will be a major industry that utilizes a lot of suppliers.
Franklin County is sitting on the fringes of some of the hottest and fastest growing economic development in the southeast.
While we haven't landed our "big fish" yet, I think that day is coming a lot faster than we all think.
Why? Location, location, location.
Russellville is in a good position – the middle – between the two automotive facilities in Cullman and Tupelo.
What's more, we're about a 45-minute drive from Guin and we're neighbors to the new development in Barton.
If there's a common supplier to at least two of these operations, I'm sure they already have a map of Franklin County.
Furthermore, the Franklin County Commission and city and town councils have become a large supporter of what could happen in Guin.
I'm sure other companies have noticed that and I'm equally sure that it will pay off in spades for the county down the road.
It's an exciting time for Northwest Alabama and I think Franklin County's time in the spotlight is just over the horizon.