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It’s a red-letter day for community

If weather forecasters are worth their salt, it’s likely rainy and dreary, and you might be under threat of severe weather as you are reading this.

But this day has a very big bright spot in it that makes it what Mayor Earl Johnson likes to call “a red-letter day.”

Because today we have confirmation of what has been rumored for some time: Shaw Industries is poised to make a major investment in its Andalusia plant that will insure its commitment to operating in this here for years to come.

While the company, which creates fiber used to manufacture carpet in Plant 65 here, is not speaking openly about specific plans, its application for local and state tax abatements indicates it is planning to spend approximately $184 million to upgrade its equipment here. According to the documents, $25 million of that will be spent on construction.

That’s really good news to the 1,000 associates who are employed locally by Shaw, and to the people who sell them goods and services.

Local leaders have been working behind the scenes to put together the pieces of the plan that makes Shaw’s investment here a financially sound one.

“PowerSouth, Southeast Alabama Gas and others have been working with us, making improvements in what we are able to provide in terms of energy to the Andalusia plant so we can be competitive with other plants,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “With this new equipment, it will be the most modern and productive plant for this process, maybe in America.”

The Andalusia City Council approved the company’s abatement application last night, granting tax credits for the investment. The Covington County Commission will have an opportunity to do the same next week, and Gov. Robert Bentley will have final approval.

Economic experts say the best way to improve local economies is by grow existing industries. We join all of those heralding this as great news for our community. It is indeed a red-letter day.