Our View: Industrial jobs good sign for area

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Two big industrial announcements in December for Jasper will have a significant impact on all of Walker County in the near future.

The Walker County Development Authority first announced that Germany-based Heiche US Surface Technologies will build a new state-of-the-art production facility in Jasper. A few days later, an announcement was made that Jasper Lumber, now known as Jasper Forest Products, LLC, will expand as well. The two projects are expected to add more than 130 new jobs for our area. That is always good news.

Both projects even caught the eye of the Governor’s Office. Gov. Kay Ivey commenti on the importance of both the projects to not only our local area, but to our state as a whole, saying it is “setting the stage for growth that can be sustained for years to come.”

Jasper Forest Products will be an expansion at its current facility, while Heiche will move into the current speculative building in the Jasper Industrial Park.

The two projects are also diverse, which is a good thing. If a certain industry goes south at any point, a community with diverse industrial companies doesn’t take as hard a hit. 

David Knight, director of the Walker County Development Authority, has done a tremendous job over the years in recruiting industrial businesses to the area. These two will be welcomed additions in Jasper and Walker County. 

In a time of much economic uncertainty, these announcements say a great deal about what global companies think about Jasper and the positives of being here. It takes a group effort from city and county down to school systems to make an area attractive to new business. Our folks seem to be putting that effort together and should be commended for that. 

While these new jobs were announced in late 2020, let us hope 2021 brings even more industrial and retail growth to the area.