The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 13, 2013

We're on the move

The News Courier

— Things may be at a stalemate in Washington with finger-pointing over this and over that but here in Limestone County we’re moving forward.

Granted, the government shutdown is affecting some of us and our neighbors in one way or another — furloughs, accessing information and/or help from federal agencies such as the USDA, visiting national parks or forests (such as Bankhead) or waiting for approval on federal loans or licenses — yet we’ve had some good news recently.

If you drive a lot around the area, you know about the problems with roads, intersections and bridges. Well, the fix is in. 

Twenty-nine fixes to be exact.

Last Wednesday, local officials announced some 19 road projects — including repaving and intersection work — and 10 bridge projects — some to be replaced — through the Alabama Transportation and Rehabilitation Improvement Program or, simply, ATRIP.

County Engineer Richard Sanders said this is the largest project since the county replaced more than a dozen bridges about a decade ago.

We also had good retail news recently when the owners of Hometown Grocery bought the Piggly Wiggly store on U.S. 31 in Athens to add to their location on Jefferson Street.

Athens-Limestone Hospital is partnering with Triad Properties in Huntsville to build a $5 million, 35,000-square-foot medical office building to augment hospital services.

Another bright spot was the announcement of a new tenant for the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex just across the river in Lawrence County. Chicago-based IT-TRI said Wednesday it will build a $68 million steel tubing and manufacturing plant there.

After the “punch in the gut” news last month about International Paper shutting down in Courtland at the cost of 1,100 jobs and several million dollars to the county’s economy, this is a little bit of sunshine.

It may be “just” 100 jobs compared to the loss of 1,000 but, in the meantime, there will be a need for construction workers to build the plant.

There’s a good chance it won’t be the last announcement for that area, either.

So, what’s the key to these good tidings? Maybe Sanders had the right idea:

“… We all worked together.”