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Jobs first on minds of voters

Published 11:03am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jobs are on the minds of Atmore residents as this year’s municipal elections draw closer, and as candidates finished the qualifying period Tuesday, locals were already chiming in on what they feel should be done by the next wave of city leaders.

Randy McKinley, a resident of Atmore who drives to work at Georgia Pacific in Perdue Hill everyday, sees the need for new industry in Atmore.

“The one thing that comes to my mind is jobs,” McKinley said. “There’s not hardly any opportunity for jobs here in Atmore. People are having to leave town to find jobs, or they move away.”

McKinley’s son, Hunter, is an example of a young adult who has had to seek employment outside of Atmore. Hunter was not able to find work in town, so he began looking for jobs in other towns. He is currently a server at Bahama Bob’s Beachside Café in Gulf Shores.

With the announcement that Airbus will begin production in Mobile, some residents, like Rebecca Hopper, an employee of Anchor Café, believe this new industry could help fill the job void in the area.

“We need to work on getting our foot in the door with Airbus,” Hopper said.

Airbus could potentially employ 1,000 people by 2018, and Atmore’s relative location to Mobile could play a large roll in who may be hired for these positions.”

With the Poarch Band of Creek Indians currently working on plans to construct an entertainment complex next to Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, many are hoping the new bowling alley, movie theater and arcade scheduled to open will bring in jobs, as well as safe, legal activities for Atmore’s youth.

“I would like more activities for younger people,” Hunter said. “All we have to do is get in trouble.” Hopper agreed saying, “maybe a bowling alley for teenagers (would be good).”

Teresa Harper, an employee of Huskey Printing, said the focus should be on opening more businesses in downtown Atmore.
“I think that we should be working on getting business back in downtown,” Harper said.

Specifically, Harper said there is a lack of sit-down restaurants open on Sundays, a time she feels is perfect for families and friends to slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

“I would like to see more restaurants open on Sunday where families can sit down together,” Harper said.

With the first candidate’s forum hosted by the Leadership Atmore Alumni Association coming up on Thursday, Aug. 2 at The Club on Alabama 21, residents said they want potential elected officials to show a sense of urgency in tackling the problems facing Atmore – especially the lack of gainful employment.

“I want people in office who will fight for our town,” Hopper said. “We want to employ more people. The more jobs they bring in, the more we can create.”

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