Russell plant in Alex City being deconstructed - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Russell plant in Alex City being deconstructed

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TALLAPOOSA CO., AL (WSFA) -

Whether it's by machine or by hand the Russell buildings are coming down in Alex City.  In fact, most of them already have. The remnants are left in piles of rubble throughout the property near downtown Alex City.

Cafe owner Lisa Champion never expected to see this. "It's sad to see it go," she said.

Neither did the mayor. "You think of all the people who made their living here," said Charles Shaw.

The demolition of buildings, the actual breaking apart of the concrete foundation that supported the big structures and the economy.

"Russell was Alex City. At one time they employed 7,000 people," said Mayor Shaw.

Eleven years ago Russell paid more than $2 million in city sewer fees. Last year it was $39,000.

There is now a new landowner out of Tallassee with plans to clean it up, grass it up and sell the property for commercial use. The mayor says he doesn't know yet what will come here.

Meantime, the city has taken over what used to be the main building for Russell. It will be rented out.

Champion remembers all too well how the layoffs affected the cafe business in 1998.

"Many of our customers came from Russell and it hurt," said Champion.

On the bright side 2,700 new jobs have come into Tallapoosa County since 2002, most of them in the automobile industry. It's not quite the amount Russell employed during its peak but not bad according to the mayor, considering it wasn't that long ago when the local economy was at rock bottom.

"Many of them are working at KIA, Honda and Hyundai but living here in Alex City," said Shaw.

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