HHI’s decision is good news for Greenville

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anyway you look at it, Friday’s announcement that Hyundai Heavy Industries – the world’s largest shipbuilder – has chosen Hope Hull as the site of its first manufacturing facility in the United States is welcome news to Greenville.

Yes, it’s true the new plant will be in Montgomery County, but it will have an economic impact in Butler County as well. Hundreds of people from this county already commute north to the Hyundai automotive plant and other manufacturing facilities located in Hope Hull’s Industrial Parkway. HHI is bringing a stated 500 new jobs to the area, an attractive draw for anyone in Greenville wanting or needing to work. Granted, those jobs won’t come on-line until early 2012, but the good news certainly gives people in this immediate area a reason to be optimistic about the future.

Greenville’s share in all of this is $333,000 over a three-year period; a drop in the bucket compared to the economic benefits of having HHI located a half-hour up Interstate 65. It also gets Greenville’s name circulating among HHI executives and civic and business leaders in Montgomery. Like Hyundai Automotive, HHI will require facilities in surrounding counties and communities to supply it with assembled parts needed to construct the massive 500-ton transformers it manufactures. Where those facilities will be located is still a decision yet to be made. But getting Greenville’s name in the mix early only helps the Camellia City’s prospects. It was the right decision to make and we applaud the city council and Mayor Dexter McLendon for making it.

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This also allows Mayor McLendon to cement the city’s relationship with Montgomery and Mayor Todd Strange. For decades, city officials have fought tooth and nail to keep local taxpayers from flocking north to Montgomery for shopping, food and entertainment. While Greenville has certainly increased its opportunities locally, it’s a simple fact that Montgomery has a larger tax base and will always be the Capitol City. It makes better sense to work with Montgomery, fostering growth for both cities, which leads to better prosperity for everyone concerned, whether they be in Prattville, Montgomery, or Greenville.

The singer Anne Murray sang “sure could use a little good news today.” In an economy still struggling to get over the hump of a recession, we received that good news on Friday.