Shorter economy poised for growth.
The last several years have been difficult ones economically for the Town of Shorter. The community has suffered numerous economic setbacks over the years, yet has continued to show signs of progress and long-term growth potential.
For years, the Shorter area has been home to major mining interests that located in the area and provided good paying jobs to area residents. The companies were good employers and good taxpayers in the community as well. As the global and national economies began to decline, most of those companies closed and the community suffered the loss of the jobs and revenue associated with them.
At the same time, the Town of Shorter has seen tough times with the major slowdown of activity at Victoryland following the State raid of the facility. The slowdown, took with it hundreds of jobs and tens of thousands of visitors to the area. The reduction in traffic meant a major drop in revenue for area businesses and the local government
Not satisfied with the poor state of economic conditions, the Town of Shorter ramped up its efforts to attract new investment and diversify the Town economy. The Mayor and Council took a risk and decided to make a major investment to extend sewer lines into the business district to serve future businesses. At the same time, Shorter worked with Halla Visteon to recruit South East Alabama Gas District to extend a natural gas line into Shorter from East Montgomery County.
The gas line effort was divided into two phases, costing almost $6 million to develop. Phase one of the project was installed this summer to provide natural gas service at Halla Visteon. That effort resulted in a partnership between the Town of Shorter and Halla Visteon to construct a new warehouse/production facility immediately adjacent to the plant. Halla Visteon is expected to add an additional 20 jobs at the facility following the completion of the building.
The second phase of the gas line project is set to begin in the coming weeks and trace the route of the Shorter sewer line extension into the Shorter business district. The new line will serve existing businesses in the area and a new Love’s Travel Center currently under construction. The new facility is expected to create around 85 new jobs and be home to McDonald’s and Subway restaurants.
Just down the road from the site, Town of Shorter residents will soon be able to shop at home at a new Dollar General store. The retail business began construction less than three months ago and is set to be completed and open by the end of October. The new business will create around 25 jobs and provide a significant boost to the Shorter economy. The retailer will also open the door for other labeled businesses looking to expand into the area.
Not satisfied with the new projects, the Town of Shorter is already making plans for the next phase of growth in the area. The Town has reconstituted its Planning Commission and is actively meeting with developers in an effort to attract home builders into the market. The effort is critical to the future of the community as the need for adequate housing is essential to long-term growth and stability.
Announcements about new developments are expected in the coming months as the Mayor and Council complete negotiations and approvals to support additional growth. Planning for additional infrastructure extensions (sewer and natural gas) is currently underway. If history is any indicator of future success, the planned investments will lead to additional growth in the future.
The news of all the growth is good for Shorter and Macon County. The new growth will have a positive impact on reversing long-term trends of negative decline in the County. Shorter is proving to be the real economic engine of Macon County. The coming year looks to be quite positive for Shorter.