Athens-Limestone Chamber of Commerce President Hugh Ball told members of the Limestone County Commission this past week that he expects as many as 2,500 new families to be living in Limestone County within the next five years.

Ball made the prediction while talking to commissioners about the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure Committee relocation plan that is currently underway. Families now living in other states—primarily the northern Virginia area—will soon relocate to northern Alabama as the result of job transfers to Redstone Arsenal.

“We should see 1,000 new families immediately and from 2,000 to 2,500 new families within five years,” Ball said. “It will have an impact on our infrastructure.”

Officials from Limestone County traveled to Virginia and visited with some of those families earlier this year giving them information about Limestone County in hopes of luring new families into moving here.

The Limestone County delegation talked to potential Missile Defense Agency transferees, and when they returned home they agreed that there was a lot of interest in settling in Limestone County.

The Pentagon announced the MDA relocations before the Base Realignment and Closure Committee recommendations that could see the relocation of 4,500 jobs to Redstone Arsenal.

Former Athens Mayor and businessman Lakin Collins; Gina Hanserd of Athens-Limestone Hospital; Leslie Kesler of Corr Wireless and local banker Ray Neese set up a display with handouts touting Athens and Limestone County’s advantages at the Arlington, Va. Sheraton Hotel for two days.

Collins said after the delegation returned in January that they received “good comments” about the community such as the cost of housing compared to that in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

The residents also expressed interest in living in a small town such as Athens as long as it is in close proximity to the big-city amenities, said local committee members.

Collins said some asked about small farms, the rivers, lake houses and golf communities.

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