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The Shoals EDA: History & Harmony
The Shoals area has always had a thriving economy. From the Tuscumbia Railway Co. to Reynolds Metals, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Ford Motor Company, major players have been drawn to our natural resources and unique positionings. These employers and businesses provided vast opportunities for Shoals area citizens.
One unique aspect of The Shoals is how our counties and cities, each with their own notable history, learned they are stronger together and have closely worked to develop our region. Our musical history makes harmony an appropriate word when describing what our key players are striving for. Through the Shoals EDA's history, you can see these efforts towards harmony and how The Shoals truly is better together.
As the post-World War II economic expansion ended, the entire country began to experience economic troubles. High inflation and high unemployment meant businesses and people had to learn what it meant to do more with less. In The Shoals region specifically, unemployment rates skyrocketed into the high teens by 1985. Coupled with inefficient community development efforts, regional leaders knew something had to change.
Enter the Shoals Industrial Development Authority (SIDA). Through leaders' solid efforts and the leadership of the University of North Alabama and the TimesDaily newspaper, the state's first multi-county public industrial recruitment organization came into existence. SIDA intended to create a joint effort between all Shoals area Counties, Cities, etc., to work in harmony to best position the Shoals region for growth and success. Through the hard of this organization and The Shoals community, unemployment rates in the area had dropped back to a respectable 6.8% by 1990.
In 1996, after a complete strategic plan, SIDA became the organization we know today, the Shoals Economic Development Authority (Shoals EDA). In its first years, the Shoals EDA focused on providing economic development services for new and existing manufacturing and support services. Barton Riverfront Industrial Park was created, and new Shoals EDA-constructed facilities were established in Sheffield Industrial Park, Rogersville Industrial Park, Shoals Commerce Park, and the Shoals Research Airpark.
An organization committed to economic excellence and a fantastic community, what else could improve The Shoals? In 2007, the local community created the Shoals Economic Development Fund (SEDF) to support further development at the federal and state levels. This fund is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in the Shoals region's two counties. Through the recommendation of the Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA) Board and the approval of the Shoals Industrial Development Committee (SIDC), funds can be made available for the inducement of new manufacturing and industrial-related businesses and the expansion of existing industries within the Shoals. Reimbursement is calculated by an economic impact analysis based on the total capital expenditures and job creation.
Today, the Shoals EDA is a partnership between the public and private sectors that works to improve the Shoals area's economy and aims to enhance economic growth continuously through innovative strategies and collaboration. Our seven team members are committed to creating opportunities for and enhancing The Shoals community. Each county, city, town, and person in The Shoals working together towards harmony makes our region unique and desirable. We truly believe The Shoals is the ideal location to establish roots, whether personal or professional.