City planners: Limestone County infrastructure and 4k new jobs - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

City planners: Limestone County infrastructure and 4k new jobs

(WAFF) -

On Tuesday it was announced Huntsville-Limestone County is landing a Toyota-Mazda plant, expected to be operational by 2021.

If you’ve driven Interstate 565 recently, you know it’s already jam-packed by 5 p.m. So is Highway 72, just a few miles north.

As exciting as the plant announcement is, some people wonder if Madison and Limestone County’s infrastructure is prepared for 4,000 new people/jobs in the area.

But city planners tell WAFF they want people to know they've been preparing for an announcement like this for years.

"I think it’s one of the reasons Toyota was attracted to us. We’ve been trying to get in front of this growth," said Dennis Madsen, manager of urban and long-range planning for the city of Huntsville.

For many, today's announcement is big news, but city planners say this is all right on schedule.

“Part of what made us a compelling choice is because we were doing homework before we were given an assignment,” Madsen said.

For years now, planners have been looking ahead.

"A lot of stuff around Polaris site, we’ve been developing the Greenbriar Parkway area… is designed to accommodate existing businesses and in anticipation that other businesses that are going to come in," Madsen said.

Some road widening projects are already scheduled, and the land set aside is ready for the next step.

If we look at the ripple effect this Toyota-Mazda plant will have, this isn’t just about 4,000 jobs.

Madsen said if those new employees are looking for housing, that's more construction jobs.

If they're looking for existing homes, that's money for realtors. And all those new Toyota-Mazda employees will need dentists, doctors, etc.

"That creates almost another small economic ecosystem just around an employment piece that large. That’s great for the City of Huntsville. It’s more employment opportunities not just for Toyota-Mazda, but for sectors across the city and across North Alabama."

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