Some Towns In River Region Still Looking For Hyundai Benefits

Some communities in the River Region are beginning to wonder if they'll ever reap the benefits from Hyundai's one billion dollar plant in south Montgomery County. When the giant South Korean automobile manufacturing company announced its decision to locate in Montgomery last year, state officials predicted between 10 to 15 tier one suppliers would come as well. Tier one suppliers are companies that provide Hyundai with the major car components.

Towns like Prattville, Millbrook, Wetumpka, and Selma have yet to land any suppliers.  All are within a short drive to where the plant will be. Since November, 3 mayor tier one suppliers have announced plans to build in Montgomery, Shorter, and the most recent announcement this week in Luverne.

Together, all 3 of those suppliers will generate nearly 1,000 jobs. Prattville Mayor Jim Byard says he's getting a little antsy, but is confident his city will at some point get a tier one supplier.

"We've been visited by 20 companies. It's getting time and it's picked up steam since Christmas. We've got several offers out there. We're on the short list for several companies," says Mayor Byard.

The mayor admitted it really stung when Hyundai Mobis, a tier one supplier, chose Montgomery over Prattville, but says that's all part of being competitive in the recruiting business. Hyundai Mobis picked Montgomery over Prattville for its $30 million dollar plant. Hyundai Mobis will employ between 400 to 430 people. Mayor Byard wouldn't talk specifics. However, he feels cautiously optimistic that Prattville will have a major announcement in about 3 weeks.

Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley said by phone tonight he would like to see a Hyundai supplier locate in Millbrook, but Mayor Kelley says he's not looking for it because Millbrook just doesn't have the infrastructure to handle a huge business like that.

The tier one suppliers that've located in Montgomery, Shorter, and Luverne are building plants ranging from 28 million to 110 million dollars.

Wetumpka Mayor Scott Golden says his town is somewhat landlocked, a little too far from the interstate which seems to be a requirement by suppliers so they can quickly haul their parts to Hyundai's plant in Montgomery.