Economic future is positive, says McLaney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Butler County has an extremely positive economic outlook, according to Ricky McLaney, Executive Director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development.

McLaney told the Kiwanis Club at its regular Tuesday meeting that the county's November 5.3 percent unemployment rate was &#8220the lowest we've seen since the late 70s.”

&#8220In August of ‘99, the unemployment rate was 18 percent,” he said. &#8220We had Rheem closing, along with a couple of apparel plants, and, overall, tax revenues were down.”

Since that time, however, Greenville and Butler County have been booming with new businesses.

Elegant Designs, CorStone, West Point Stevens, Hysco, Hwashin, AIA Recycling, Ruby Tuesday, Just Julie's and Russell Stover are just a few of the new businesses that have opened in the area over the last few years. McLaney said that Structural Woods and Georgiana Hospital are also seeing expansions, as well as the Greenville campus of LBW Community College.

&#8220Just look at all the good things that have already come our way,” he said.

Marvin's is expected to open in March in the old Wal-Mart building, while a retail clothing industry is looking to locate in the additional part of the old Wal-Mart building. McLaney said that the same developer is working to put a movie theatre into the old Winn Dixie building.

The Greenville Plaza, the strip mall adjacent to Ruby Tuesday, will house Movie Gallery, Rent-a-Center, Jackson & Hewlett Tax Service and Express Check. Hibbetts Sporting Goods will be moving into the old Movie Gallery location next to Fred's on the Greenville Bypass.

McLaney said that at the Willow Pointe strip mall location, directly in front of Wal-Mart, there would be Top Nails and Tan, Shoe Show, Check n Go, and Old Mexico #2. Old Mexico Restaurant on Fort Dale Road will not close that particular location. Cato's will be moving into its new location in Willow Pointe, and Cingular Wireless will consist of two storefront locations in the strip mall.

According to McLaney, the big area lot adjacent to Wal-Mart that has been cleared will probably boast a motel, two restaurants, a drugstore and a strip development.

KIA Automotive Group will announce its new location soon. McLaney said that it is highly likely that the automotive assembly plant will be located within 120 miles of Greenville. The plant itself will employ approximately 2,500 people. If KIA is located close enough in the area, Hwashin will build another building.

&#8220Alabama is now the fifth largest state in the nation for manufacturing automobiles,” McLaney said. &#8220All of these things make us that much more of an attractive place for people to want to move to.”