The Calhoun County Economic Development Council is proud to unveil our newest industrial park constructed to bring new jobs to Oxford and Calhoun County. Designated an Alabama AdvantageSite by EDPA, the 130-acre park sits in between Interstate 20 and U.S. 78 on John Wills Ave. Engineering designs were first proposed and reviewed in 2016 and ground was broken in early 2017. The plans for the sign and entrance to the park were designed with the entrance to Oxford’s Choccolocco Park in mind. A ribbon cutting was held at Oxford West late in 2018 where the crowd on hand heard from Calhoun County Economic Development Council’s Board Chairman and Executive Director, the Mayor of Oxford, and representatives from EDPA and the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Oxford West is one of only 59 AdvantageSites throughout the state, as well as the second AdvantageSite the EDC has developed in Calhoun County. Managed by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the AdvantageSite program requires a teamwork approach between the private sector and state and local governments geared toward having prepared product and materials ready for industrial prospects. The program documents all aspects of the site, from geotechnical and environmental conditions to infrastructure and accessibility. Since its inception in 2008, 33 projects have located on AdvantageSites across the state, investing more than $1.4 billion and creating over 6,000 new jobs. Oxford Mayor Alton Craft said that he expects the certification will work for Oxford, too. “Back 30 years ago when Mayor (Leon) Smith and I started together, you could bring developers out and show them pastures and trees and they would say, ‘I see your vision,’” Craft explained, “but they don’t see it anymore.”
Ernie Cowart, Vice President of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, explains that companies are allowing less time for site selection and project construction. “They demand more information up front, and if your site lacks that, it can knock you out of consideration. They’re demanding a lot more information. This makes sure that information has already been documented and is readily available.”
Mayor Craft spoke highly of the partnership between the EDC and the City of Oxford, thanking the EDC for their commitment to build Oxford West. “Anytime you can get an industrial site like this and have the ability to recruit, it puts us up one more on everybody else,” Craft said. Leaders are excited about the site’s ability to draw industry, resulting in the creation of new job opportunities for our residents.
“We’re excited to make it a world-class industrial park,” Don Hopper, Executive Director of the Calhoun County EDC said. A major selling point is its location between Birmingham and Atlanta. “It’s those kinds of operations that need to be close to those markets that tend to look in this area,” Hopper explains. “Obviously the automotive industry, as well as the aerospace industry, is large here in the state and in Calhoun County.” The EDC is working closely with the City of Oxford, the Alabama Department of Commerce, EDPA, Alabama Power and Spire (formerly Alagasco) to market Oxford West. It takes cooperation and good working relationships with everyone involved. “The Alabama Department of Commerce’s job is to sell Alabama, and our job is to sell Calhoun County,” said Hopper.