Councilman hopes Aerojet Rocketdyne will be a catalyst for North Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Local and state leaders broke ground on a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility that will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area.

The shovel ceremony took place on an unseasonably cold day.

“Anyone got a hot biscuit? We all need one," joked Governor Kay Ivey.

Ivey celebrated this as the latest example of North Alabama and Aerospace fitting together like - "butter and molasses on a warm biscuit. Only in Alabama," said Eileen Drake, CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne. She explained that was the metaphor Governor Ivey used when pitching Alabama for the site of the Advanced Manufacturing Facility and new North American Headquarters for the rocket company.

The ceremony was a chance for local leaders across the valley, to butter up to Aerojet Rocketdyne who is expanding their 50-year footprint in Huntsville, by adding the so-called "Rocket Shop" and along with it, 700 new high paying jobs.

“We’re going to be able to do some things here that aren’t done anywhere else in the world," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

Aerojet made sure to spread plenty of praise in return.

“We’re rocket scientists. What better place to come than Rocket City?” said Drake.

City leaders are hoping moving dirt at this ceremony will translate to more groundbreakings in the future. That way they can bring more business to a part of town that could sure use the boost.

“This is a step in the right direction," says District 1 Councilman Devyn Keith.

Keith is a proud "cook in the kitchen" on this project. He's been a big proponent of bringing more industry into North Huntsville.

“We continue to make the investments that bring a sort of mix of the job opportunities in this area, high manufacturing, engineering so forth and so on," says Keith.

He believes the site could turn into a real catalyst for the area. With jobs, come residential, retail and entertainment opportunities.

“Increasing the opportunity for future developments to come here and see that people can live in proximity to the places that they work and have a high quality of life," he says.

As for the Governor, she's hopeful other aerospace industries will like what we're cooking here in Alabama.

“I’ve been in Huntsville a lot lately, and I’m proud of that. I’m very proud of this community and this entire state," says Gov. Ivey.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is also moving their North American Headquarters to the Cummings Research Park.

The company's CEO expects about half of the new workforce to come from existing Aerojet Rocketdyne facilities, and the other half to come from the local area.