The Rocket City is shooting up in economic growth, but how will it keep up the momentum? Mayor Tommy Battle gave his State of the City Address Tuesday where he answered that question.
Battle touted accomplishments made this year in Huntsville, but says for the next five to ten years the city is in a good position. Now they must look for emerging industries to prepare the city for coming decades.
From the creation of new jobs with the FBI, Mazda Toyota, and Facebook to high-speed internet and plans for the state’s first cyber and engineering school, the Rocket City is growing at a rate that’s outpacing the national average. Battle credits it to prioritizing the workforce and innovation.
He says much of the city’s success goes back to planning years ago. Now that means thinking: ‘what’s next?’
“Are we gonna be in the crypto currency business in 10 years to take us into the 20 and 30 and 40 years?” Battle said. “Are we gonna be doing autonomous driving? Are we gonna be doing artificial intelligence? All those kinds of things are decisions that we need to make today and make sure that we have the workforce that can do it in the future.”
Battle says that comes down to making the city a place innovators want to invest in.
“Everybody wonders why are you doing high-speed broadband, craft beer, music halls, new parks, urban developments, alternative transportation?” he said. “Why do you do that? You do that because it attracts the new generation of workers. It helps workforce development.”
His takeaway from this State of the City Address: It’s a good time to live in Huntsville, Alabama.
“If we have the vision for the future we can make the future, for generations to come, we can make us a very prosperous city,” Battle said.
He says community input is and will always be vital to making the city a success.
Battle also says the city has spent millions in fixing roads. He says they have projects in the works, which can be tough during construction, but he says will pay off.