By Mike Ward, CCE, IOM
Senior VP, Government & Public Affairs
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle delivered his 10th State of the City Address to more than 1,000 members of the Chamber on November 9 in the North Hall of the Von Braun Center. It was a message of vision, emphasizing the “building blocks” put in place years ago, that have made our growth possible today and his vision for Huntsville’s bright future.
Mayor Battle paid tribute to the previous community leaders “who had the vision and the fortitude … that led us to our universities, Cummings Research Park, the Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville Hospital, our park system, museums, symphony and libraries.”
A quick inventory of recent accomplishments included the certification of the 1,200 acre Mega site; development of the new CRP Master Plan; and new commercial developments at Twickenham Square, Campus No. 805, Merchants Square with Whole Foods, City Centre, in addition to the recent approval of $42 M for the renovation of the north end of the VBC. “It’s now our turn,” Mayor Battle added. “It’s up to us to put in building blocks; to set the foundations and the conditions to support future generations for the next 20, 40, 50 years.”
The Mayor noted that our city leads the state with 62 percent of all new jobs in the state in past 10 years being created in Huntsville. “Expansions and new business announcements in the last year included Toyota, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, BASF, Boeing, Torch Technologies, GATR, GE Aviation, and Yellowhammer Brewing – and these are just a few of the small and large employers.” The Mayor’s scorecard included “20,000 jobs created, 2.9 percent unemployment, and $2.2 billion in capital investment.”
Among the other accomplishments the Mayor noted $250 million invested in new schools and one-half billion dollars on improvements to major roads.
“Within a 40-mile radius, there are now 1.2 million people making our regional market numbers highly attractive. The reason that is so important is workforce development. That is the one question we get when we have groups come in. Do you have the workforce to provide for my company and we can say yes,” said Battle.