We got a glimpse of what may be ahead for New Albany in a presentation this week at the annual meeting of the New Albany Main Street Association.
The speaker was Kitty Dougoud, director of Historic Georgetown in Kentucky, where Toyota builds the Camry, Versa and other vehicles at a plant that has been open since 1986.
Dougoud said New Albany’s downtown is picturesque, thriving and in better overall shape than Georgetown’s was back in 1986. But she predicted there will be much growth in our area over time, and the city should be prepared for it.
She noted that the population of Georgetown was 10,972 in the 1980 census and had grown only to 11,414 by 1990, four years after the plant opened. However, the population has nearly tripled since to 29,038 in the 2010 census.
This area may not experience as much growth because the Kentucky plant is much larger than the one in Union County and has more than 6,000 employees. But over time, New Albany can expect to grow as the plant expands, because of location of supplier plants in the area, as well as employees from around Mississippi deciding to move closer to their work.
The take away, of course, is that all of the real growth is ahead of us. With good planning, a welcoming attitude to new families whether they are from a county away or from Japan, and a continued focus on good schools, quality housing and upgraded community amenities, we’ll be on the right track.