Two publications in the region recently ran articles talking about the coming impact of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) in their areas. As you all already know, BRAC will be the largest single economic development in the Huntsville area since Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center opened here in the 1950s. It will bring 5,000 direct jobs to Redstone Arsenal, mostly from Northern Virginia, but also from places like Atlanta and Southeast Alabama (Dothan area). It is also expected to bring an additional 5,000 indirect jobs in everything from private military contractors to fast food. In all, a total of 40,000 more people will call the Huntsville region home before BRAC is expected to be compete in 2011. Of course, not all of them will move into the city of Huntsville, or Madison County, for that matter. That is why cities as far away as The Shoals (about 65 miles from Huntsville) are courting potential commuters.
A Sand Mountain Reporter article in the January 1st edition talks about the impact of BRAC on Marshall County and how it has made it a major part of the greater Huntsville area. Three cities in particular- Arab, Guntersville, and Grant- are actively pursuing companies and people affected by BRAC.
An editorial in Business Tennessee magazine's January edition talks about how the state of Tennessee should work more closely and compete with Huntsville, which is only 20 miles from the state. The editor says that, with Tennessee's "business-friendly" environment and no state income tax, the state could do well in attracting business and commuters from BRAC. This will be especially true in places like Fayetteville and Lincoln County, which is poised to see a population boom in the next few years as Huntsville growth continues to move north. Franklin County, TN is another county to watch, as land prices are already rising rapidly there.