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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – U.S. Census data shows Limestone County was Alabama’s fastest growing county based on population from July 2020 to July 2021.

Limestone County Economic Development Association President Bethany Shockney says it’s the second time in recent years the county has been listed as number one for growth.

“We were identified as the fastest growing county in the state, again. That’s good for residents and for our businesses,” says Shockney.

Limestone County was also the fastest growing in 2019, but Baldwin County outpaced it in 2020. Shockney believes the quality of life in Limestone County is a major contributing factor to rapid growth.

“I think it’s our quality of life. I know that’s a big umbrella term, but we have the jobs for people coming here that are very well paying jobs, we have a beautiful place to live and we have a lot for people to do here,” says Shockney.

Shockney says Limestone County has good transportation corridors with I-65 and I-565 both nearby.

“It’s easy, quick and convenient to get anywhere in this region, so we have a very good number of people that leave Limestone County and work in other counties just like we have folks from other counties coming to us for work,” says Shockney.

In the past year, several big corporations including Gregory Industries, Intech, Amazon, Polaris, Tenneco, KC Logistics and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing have made their footprint in Limestone County.

Shockney says the city of Athens will also soon be getting Old Navy, Ross, TJ Maxx, Chicken Salad Chick and a new Jack’s Restaurant location.

“We have a big variety of retail and food establishments that have located here and selected here because we are starting to have the demographics and the population that we haven’t had in the past,” says Shockney.

Shockney says the Economic Development Association wants to be smart about what businesses and industries it recruits to the area.

“The main thing is for us to be diverse and for us to have a wide variety of companies that need different skill sets. Everyone doesn’t do automotive, everyone doesn’t do distribution, everyone doesn’t do manufacturing. We need a little bit of everything,” says Shockney.