It’s the kind of thing that has city and country officials indulgently pumping hands and slapping each other on the back in congratulations, high-fiving like their team just won the Super Bowl…then excusing themselves to the men’s room because they just wet their pants from all the excitement:

…a billion dollar investment in the area
…2,000 direct jobs in addition to the ancillary jobs necessary to support it
…national and international media attention

Yesterday Volkswagen announced plans to build an automotive manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, TN, edging out sites in Alabama and Michigan. 

Production of 150,000 mid-sized sedans annually will begin in three years, and to meet that 2011 goal, groundbreaking will have to take place soon.  The earth trembled as thousands of construction workers stampeded to the area minutes after the announcement was made.    

Chamber of Commerce types are already calculating the economic benefit to our area–the effects will be long-term.  Property values increase, unemployment decreases, and the investment in infrastructure is nicely returned.   Just this morning, I heard for every one manufacturing job created at the new Volkswagen facility, seven ancillary jobs will be necessary–14,000 jobs!

Twenty-eight years ago, Chattanooga was struggling–the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare named it as (one of) the most polluted cities in America, and economic recession, social tension and urban decay threatened its viability.  Enter Vision 2000 and with the collaboration of local citizens, the city reversed decline.  Now, Chattanooga is highly regarded, #3 on Relocate-America’s Top Places to live.

Volkswagen chose well with their decision to build in Chattanooga; among other goals, both city and company are committed to environmental responsibility.   "As an expression of this shared
commitment, the state of Tennessee, Volkswagen and Chattanooga-area
organizations are partnering to distribute two saplings for every tree
displaced by the project."  Local school kids will be responsible for planting.

Chattanooga and Volkswagen…the start of something beautiful!

Related links:

Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce
Vision 2000

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