Nestled into picturesque Northeast Alabama, Etowah County, Alabama provides easy access to two international airports, local commercial air service, interstate access, and a Class 1 rail system from Norfolk Southern that runs to the port of Mobile. The high concentration of automotive factories and proximity to aerospace facilities makes it ideal for those industries, as well as metalworking and food processing.
On the Rise
North Alabama is booming! Our region's population grew by 30,000 over the last 5 years and is projected to grow by 24,500 over the next 5 years. Jobs are also on the rise, having grown by 49,300 over the last 5 years with a projected growth of 33,000 over the next 5 years. College graduates have increased by 8% in the past five years as well.
Quality Comes to Life
The natural beauty of the area is one of our biggest attractions. From the breathtaking Noccalula Falls to the Lookout Mountain Parkway, there’s always something new to see. Play a round on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail or have a picnic on the banks of the Coosa River. Historic downtown Gadsden is home to a growing arts and entertainment district. Additionally, residents enjoy a cost of living that is 85.6% of the national average.
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History of the Mega-Site
The Etowah County Commission began acquiring land adjacent to Little Canoe Creek for future employment-generating opportunities. They started with the purchase of 675 acres.
The county purchased 80 additional acres and the site was listed in EDPA’s state database of industrial properties with 755 acres.
Etowah County Commission contracted with the Gadsden-Etowah IDA to have a study done to (1) report on ways and means to develop the property as an industrial mega-site, and (2) prepare for the marketing of this property to companies as a location for a mega-project.
The Commission received the report which described (1) the characteristics of mega-sites; (2) what companies and their consultants consider important in evaluating the suitability of a site for a megaproject; (3) what needs to be done for the Little Canoe Creek property to meet these standards so that marketing can begin to recruit a major new industrial employer to occupy it; and (4) ways to accomplish this work.
To confirm the highest and best use for this property, the County Commission held public meetings and evaluated three other options for development that had been previously discussed, an industrial park with divided parcels and a sports complex.
The Commission formally voted to develop the Little Canoe Creek property as an industrial mega-site so that Etowah County would be able to compete for large projects. The County Commission approved the purchase of 81 additional acres to further increase the size of the site. Commissioners also accepted the low bid to construct a new access road to the site.
The County Commission purchased an additional 168 acres of land, increasing the size of the site to over 1,000 acres.
The County Commission completed due diligence on all the property and hired a consultant to facilitate the process of applying for EDPA’s Alabama AdvantageSite designation.
The Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site earned the Alabama AdvantageSite designation. The County Commission hired their first economic development director for the purpose of promoting the mega-site and formulating a strategy to recruit a company that will add a large number of high-paying jobs to the county.
$2.7 million was awarded for improvements to the mega-site by the State of Alabama through the Growing Alabama Credit program. Norfolk Southern Corporation partnered with the county's economic development department to be the donor through this tax credit incentive. Plans included construction of a 70-acre, rail-served, pad-ready site, a new railroad crossing, and relocation of natural gas lines to the perimeter of the property.
Construction began on the 70-acre pad. Alabama Power purchased property from Etowah County and announced plans to build a new substation that will be capable of serving any large industry. This project will be a new 40 MVA, 2 breaker, 115-46-12.47 kV substation.
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