South Alabamian

Meeting to focus on community needs related to TK steel plant

Southwest Alabama communities impacted by the ThyssenKrupp plant will be provided some direction through a region-wide public meeting, sponsored by Gov. Bob Riley’s Alabama Rural Action Commission, today (Thursday) at 3 p.m. in the Chatom Community Center.

The steel plant, which Riley announced in May will be built near Mount Vernon, is expected to have an immediate and long-term impact in the area. The Rural Action Commission meeting will focus on ways communities can prepare for changes in their communities including population increases, infrastructure needs, road improvements and other challenges.

“A project of this magnitude is destined to create enormous changes in southwest Alabama. We’ll continue working with our partners at the local level to make sure everyone is prepared for them,” said Riley.

Speakers invited will include Doni Ingram, assistant director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs; Gerald Dial, executive director of the Rural Action Commission; Linda Swan, ThyssenKrupp project manager for the Alabama Development Office and Steve Pelham, state rural development director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ThyssenKrupp broke ground on the $3.7 million plant earlier this month. The construction phase is expected to require 29,000 workers. The steel and stainless steel processing facility will open in 2010 and employ 2,700 people when in full operation.

Riley created the Rural Action Commission in May to provide improvements to Alabama’s rural communities. It was modeled after the Black Belt Action Commission which Riley formed in 2004 to address economic, health and educational challenges in the region.

The Rural Action Commission is composed of eight regional commissions that are composed of volunteers. Each regional commission has autonomous leadership to address particular needs in each region. Washington County is served by the Tombigbee Action Commission. Other member counties in the regional commission are Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox.

For more information on the Alabama Rural Action Commission or the Southwest Alabama Action Commission kickoff contact Bessie Sharp at Bessie.Sharp@adeca.alabama.g ov or 334-353-8286.

The Chatom Community Center is at Alabama Highway 56 East.

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