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Welcome, Alabama Graphite
I put off writing my column as long as possible because of hearing about a press conference by Gov. Kay Ivey announcing a MAJOR economic development for Coosa County. I was not happy with the way she handled it by not even mentioning Coosa County, but it took the remainder of the day to get the “rest of the story” out.
After YEARS of hard work by many people – including our late Commissioner Paul Perrett – Alabama Graphite announced it was locating a facility in the industrial park in Kellyton to support the mining that would be done in Coosa County.
This is the only source of graphite in the United States, and we get the majority of our graphite from China and North Korea. In case you don’t know, graphite is an ingredient needed for many products used by our military, for lithium batteries, and other things.
With the big push for electric cars, the need for graphite has become imperative. And, the only place to find it is a portion of Coosa and Chilton counties – and the testing has shown this is almost 99% pure.
This is an opportunity like no other that we have had to bring major jobs and revenue to Coosa County, and I hope that our County Commission and other elected officials, as well as our citizens, will embrace this with open arms. We have had opportunities in the past for some really good industries, but they were basically told Coosa County was not interested in them so we just continued to exist with no revenue for our schools and infrastructure.
Our children have moved away because of the lack of jobs here, families have moved because of our school system and roads, and there hasn’t been much on the horizon to bring us back from the brink of disaster. Until now.
Many of you may not be excited about mining coming into our county. You need to do some research into the different types of mining and renewals that exist before you start jumping up and down.
The only other thing we have going for us is timber, and the clear cutting leaves us looking like a remnant of an atomic disaster. And that’s not to mention the destruction of our roads with no revenue coming back to the county to repair them.
Now is the time to decide whether we want Coosa County to exist 20 years from now or if we want to be absorbed into the surrounding counties. Without industry, jobs and an increase in population, we will die.
Because of the low taxes we have here and the wonderful natural resources of lakes, rivers, creeks, and mountains, Coosa County is in a prime position to grow. People are moving into the county, but will they stay if we don’t make improvements in the schools and high speed broadband? Without a local revenue source we cannot provide the services these people are looking for OR the services all of us need and deserve.
I am asking all of you to contact our county commissioners, our state senators and representatives and our U.S. senators and congressmen to ask them to continue to work diligently on this project to help improve Coosa County. A business will not succeed without the support of the community and government entities to get started.
I’m tired of hearing our citizens complain about lack of services and then turn around and sit in silence while we are passed over time and time again for the economic development we need to survive.
Welcome to Coosa County, Alabama Graphite! We’ve been waiting for you a long time!