County is on its way to big growth

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

Just one quick look around Covington County and it's apparent that our county is making progress.

From numerous road and highway improvements underway, to new construction projects to renovations - Covington County is preparing to be Alabama's model county for the 21st Century.

US Highway 84 is well on its way to being one of the premier East-West corridors in the United States. Paralleling Interstate 10, Hwy. 84 offers an alternative to the congestion of interstate travel that can occur in major cities. Once the four-laning is completed and the speed limits raised, it truly will be a viable alternative to "go West young man."

Alabama 55 is well on its way to being completely four-laned to Interstate 65, offering a direct link between I-10 and I-65. Once that project is complete, the "fastest route to the beaches" will bring more than just tourism - it will bring industry.

And that's what our local and state leaders are banking on.

Although it may be difficult for some to see, at least for now, the road projects underway are vital the future growth of Covington County.

Opp's By-pass is nearly complete and the rest of the US 331 project will begin soon. When all of these projects are complete, Covington County will really be the crossroads of south Alabama.

With Andalusia, Opp and Florala sitting as the points of an imaginary triangle drawn using each of these highways as a boundary, our growth potential is immeasurable.

We must look at all these projects using the "If you build it, they will come" theory. Because we truly believe, that since we are building it, business, industry and people will come.

In order for a county to be a viable prospect for future industrial development, an infrastructure must be in place that will allow the easy access and transport of materials in and out of the area.

With these road projects underway, the state and local leaders are taking that approach. Currently, our roads aren't sufficient to handle large quantities of transportation or shipping.

But they will be, and that's what really matters.

The county's governments have already taken measures to ensure that existing infrastructure is in place to support additional growth. Water systems are in place. Electrical systems are in place. Industrial parks are modernizing. It's all a matter of bringing it all together.

And that's what will happen with the completion of the road projects. The bow will be tied and our county will be primed for growth.

All businesses don't want to be located in big cities like Montgomery, Birmingham - or even Dothan. But, they would like to have the conveniences of those cities close by.

And that's what makes us the place to be in the next four or five years. Our roads will be in place, our existing facilities will be waiting and our people will be ready to say, "Welcome home Š to Covington County."