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Local aerospace park part of regional partnership


Kristin Mamrack



The Golden Triangle Regional Global Aerospace Industrial Park will be included in The Aerospace Alliance, a newly launched private/public organization aimed at establishing the Gulf Coast and surrounding region as a world class aerospace, space and aviation corridor, officials said Tuesday. 


Govs. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., and Gov. Bob Riley, R-Ala., Monday announced the launch of The Aerospace Alliance, members of which will include business leaders, economic development professionals and government officials. 


In addition to advocating for policies, programs and specific aerospace projects on the local, state and national level, members of the Alliance will work to promote common assets and the region''s long-standing tradition of excellence in the aerospace industry, as well as seize opportunities to grow the sector, attract more jobs and suppliers to the region, said officials with Riley and Barbour''s offices. 


"Mississippi''s involvement in The Aerospace Alliance will benefit all of the state''s aviation and aerospace resources and, as a stakeholder, GTR (Global Aerospace Industrial Park) will be included," said Buddy Bynum, director of communications for Barbour''s office. "The objective is to promote the entire region, its facilities and businesses, capabilities and expertise in these important sectors and to create new, high-paying jobs.  


"As the Alliance has just been announced, the details of how each stakeholder will benefit will be better defined, as the organization is finalized in coming weeks," he added. 


"I think it''s a good thing," said Columbus-Lowndes Economic Development Link CEO Joe Higgins. "The board is going to include a whole group of people; it''s the whole state.  


"I would hope, at some point, the (Alliance) consortium would inventory their assets," he continued. "When you factor in our airport and the available land, it''s just pretty damn special. The kid that has the best toy box always wants to have people go home and play with him and I think we''ve got a pretty decent little play box. This consortium that''s being put together, the projects are all going to see benefit." 


"This alliance will go far in promoting our region for what it is, one of the largest aerospace corridors in the world and a great place for companies in this sector to do business," said Barbour. "The Gulf Coast states share geographic proximity, a long tradition of aerospace and aviation activities and a skilled and experienced workforce, and by joining together, we will be well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities to grow this sector in our region." 


The GTR Global Industrial Aerospace Park is an expansion of the existing industrial park located on Highway 82. 


The plan is to use the site''s existing resources, including access to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, railways, highways and the Tennessee Tombigbee River, to attract more companies in the expanding aerospace industry. 


American Eurocopter, Stark Aerospace and Aurora Flight Sciences already occupy some of the site''s 2,500 publicly owned acres and employ about 600 workers. 


Higgins noted $100 million of infrastructure work has gone into the site with more expected. 





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