Decatur mayor expects economic boom from Mazda Toyota workers’ arrival

DECATUR, Ala. - Mayor Tab Bowling says by summer, he expects to see more traffic through Decatur, as more people arrive to go to work building the Mazda Toyota plant.

Within a few months, the auto plant will have thousands of workers on site.

"The tool and die and skilled trades will be here in July," Bowling said. "We see residential growth as being a given. I don't see this stopping."

He expects demand for housing and hotel rooms will be a shot in the arm for Decatur, as well as future growth along Highway 20.

"It's a clean canvas out there, it's primed for development," Bowling said.

Mazda Toyota representatives say they're ready to move onto the next phase of construction of the new plant. They say hiring will peak by August when they say they'll have around 2,500 workers on site.

"We really don't understand how that's going to impact our area because we haven't seen anything like that," Bowling said.

The automakers have already begun hiring plant staff. The factory along Greenbrier is expected to be finished in 2020. Bowling says current programs at Calhoun College are being tailored to train young people to go to work at the auto plant.

"For a boy or girl to go to school and in two years, you're earning between $70 and $90,000," Bowling said.

Mazda Toyota leaders expect the plant will employ around 4,000 workers once they start production in 2021.

Last month, Mazda leaders unveiled their new crossover SUV called the CX-30 at the Geneva Auto Show.

But they haven't announced yet if that's the vehicle they'll be manufacturing in Alabama, along with the Toyota Corolla.

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