Wooing Boeing: The Benefits Madison County Could Still Reap

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The new 777X jetliner may just set a new benchmark for aviation, and we almost helped launch it into the skies.

But the unions who currently put together Boeing’s jets changed their mind and accepted the company’s contract offer, scuttling Huntsville’s bid to replace them.

They worked long hours in city government to put together the proposal for Boeing.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle explains, “We had teams working from county to city, from Chamber of Commerce to the Airport Authority, the state commerce department, all working throughout the holidays to get ready for the site visit with Boeing.  We put a lot of hours into this.”

Chairman Dale Strong, likewise, closed a Madison County Commission work session last Wednesday lauding the efforts of dozens who put their all into wooing Boeing; including his own commissioners.

"Some of these folks were working on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, putting some of this together."

Strong said he wished to applaud publicly the massive collaborative intergovernmental effort.

"The chamber of commerce, the mayor, the city council of Huntsville - a very good process and I still believe it will pay dividends in the days ahead."

Strong says the exposure alone Huntsville and Madison County gained is enough to leverage future benefits on the economic development front.

"For the last two months," Strong said, "Huntsville, Madison, Madison County have been in every aerospace publication from one end of this country to the other - I still believe the right mix will come our way."

Strong cited luring factors like Huntsville International Airport, with the second longest runway in the southeast united States, only second to Miami.

Last month, Boeing selected Huntsville for a new $6 million research center that will add 400 jobs and infuse another $40 million into our annual economy.

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