Mayor says recent Huntsville growth 'only the beginning'

Mayor Battle said the city is in talks with more businesses moving and relocating. (Source: MGN Online)
Mayor Battle said the city is in talks with more businesses moving and relocating. (Source: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Thousands of new jobs are heading to the Tennessee Valley, and Huntsville's mayor said this is only the beginning.

Mayor Tommy Battle said there is definitely reason to celebrate. He said the last few weeks are some of the most successful for job growth we've seen in recent memory.

Here are the three largest job announcements since mid-February:

  • Remington Arms plans on hiring 2,000 workers at its new Huntsville facility over the next decade.
  • Toyota is expanding its engine plant and bringing in another 125 jobs.
  • Raytheon announced an expansion of its missile facility Tuesday. The expansion will add 100 more workers to its operations.

Battle said the city is in talks with more businesses moving and relocating here, but would not reveal specific names. He said the recent string of success is proof that the city has much more than just engineering interests.

"We've been known as an engineering town, a rocket scientist town, a town full of engineers and PhDs. We also have a very good segment that is advance manufacturing, high-tech production," Battle said.

The mayor said not going through middlemen and having direct contact with neighboring city leaders has helped in attracting new business, including Remington. Battle said Limestone County and the City of Athens pitched in an extra $1 million to help Huntsville attract the arms manufacturer.

Madison Mayor Troy Trulock said Madison and Huntsville have to work together on things because the two cities are so intertwined. "We either call each other, email each other, or as you saw today, we're together maybe five or six times a week. That just shows partnership," he said.

Battle also said that investments made in lobbying for projects has begun paying dividends. Taxpayer dollars are paying less than $300,000 to three lobbyist groups. Capitol Hill consulting is former Congressman Bud Cramer's company and operates out of Washington DC. Direct Communication works on state governmental affairs. Finally, Capital Edge secures a lot of grants for community development.

Battle said making those investments years ago is now paying off. He said it has opened up opportunities Huntsville didn't have in the past. Lobbyist work has helped attract business, bring in federal dollars, and put Huntsville on a national radar.

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