The play on words comes from the central focus on the road improvements and site development along Iron Mountain Road and Pappy Dunn Boulevard. Frankly, what we call it is less important than the deed. And, given the long years it has taken the former Army post to get to this point, the actual $8 million project announced this week is less important than the idea of regionalism behind it.
Calhoun County Commissioner Tim Hodges and Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins say they began discussing ways to work together on a project at McClellan last year. The result of those discussions was Wednesday’s press conference announcing the project aimed at attracting new industry. Assembled at the table were local governments from Anniston, Calhoun County, Jacksonville, Piedmont, Weaver, Ohatchee and Hobson City, as well as the McClellan Development Authority, the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College. There’s still more room at that table, meaning Oxford is more than welcome to join in this cooperative effort.
While the McClellan Area Regional Development Compact, as this initiative is called, will be noteworthy, our hope is that it is the start of something much bigger. McClellan’s prosperity can’t be contained to one city. New employees at McClellan — just like the ones already there — will very likely live in one city, shop in another city and contribute to the cultural life of yet another city. Translation: Every part of our region stands to benefit from success at McClellan.
We salute those local government and organizations joining forces, and encourage others to do the same. By working together, this will be economic development done right.