HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough found themselves returning to something they've been doing together a lot lately - sitting down to talk business.
Only this time, it was to answer questions from reporters about the major announcement that Toyota-Mazda chose Huntsville for a $1.6 billion plant location.
“We’re going to be doing something very special there that’s not being done anywhere else in the U.S. You’re going to have two car plants working side by side," said Mayor Battle.
Battle revealed preliminary plans for the facility includes two separate buildings, one for Toyota, one for Mazda and then an additional section for a supplier park.
Because the original TVA megasite was just 1,200 acres, the community partnership had to work together to buy up an additional 1,100 acres.
“That was really kind of interesting, the site got bigger, we ended up with 2,300 acres," said Mayor Battle.
In addition to jobs and economic impact, Chairman Yarbrough lauded what this will mean for school tax revenue for all stakeholders.
“We’re calculating about $17 million more a year, and that could be conservative. And that’s about what’s being disseminated right now in Limestone County. That’s how huge of an impact this will be in education," Yarbrough explained.
Both men said the announcement was the easy part, now comes the hard work.
“Grading to be done, roadways that have to be built, both Highway 20 and Greenbrier Parkway. There’s a lot to be done in the meantime," said Battle.
Crews will also have to ready the 1,110 additional acres to make sure they're up to the TVA megasite requirements and add a two-directional railway line.
“We’re all under deadlines the same way Toyota and Mazda are under deadlines," said Battle.
Meanwhile, both the Limestone County Commission and Huntsville City Council will have to approve the development agreements and TIF, tax increment financing, agreements.
Huntsville's meeting on Thursday will only address the development agreement.
“Basically a development agreement is a contract of what we promise to do, what Toyota Mazda promises to do. This is how we put it together," said Battle.
Both will tackle TIF districts in the days and weeks to come. In other words, many more chances to pull up chairs and talk business.