This April 2016 report, Enhancing Economic Resilience in the C3 Region of Northwest Alabama, outlines the findings of a technical assistance project completed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). IEDC, with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), was retained to assist C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, which represents Marion, Lamar, and Fayette Counties, Alabama with an economic assessment of the area. This included an assessment of the local economy and its trends, economic development assets, challenges and opportunities, with specific recommendations for improving the effectiveness of economic development efforts in the area.
This assessment looked deeply at the economy of the region and each county individually, at current and planned economic development strategies and initiatives. The assessment also looked at how economic resilience can be enhanced to ensure future disasters economic impacts are reduced.
The region was impacted by the April 25-28, 2011 tornado outbreak that was one of the deadliest outbreaks ever recorded. One of the tornados in that outbreak, an EF-5, touched down in Marion County and caused significant damage. The town of Hackleburg, located in Marion County, was 75% destroyed killing 18 people in the area. The tornado destroyed a grocery store, three schools, and a Wrangler clothing distribution center which is a major employer in the region.
The area is largely rural, but is looking to take full advantage of a new opportunity that will arise in the near future, which is the opening of a new highway interchange.
The expert IEDC Team assembled for this technical assistance included:
- Faith McClintic, Director, Albemarle Co. (Va.) Economic Development
- David Myers, Executive Director, Ponca City Development Authority
- Lousie Anderson, Senior Associate & Editor IEDC ED Now, IEDC
- Tye Libbey, Economic Development & Research Associate, IEDC
This technical assistance project was funded through a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), Economic Adjustment Assistance Project No. 04-79-06700. The grant is focused on long-term economic recovery of FY2011 disaster-impacted communities and regions in the EDA Atlanta office region. The statements, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and other data in this report are solely those of IEDC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
IEDC would like to acknowledge Southwest Airlines, a community partner, for flying team members to the site visit. IEDC would also like to acknowledge StateBook International, ESRI Inc., and Economic Modeling Specialists International for donating software that was used in this report.