The PUL Alliance and elected officials of Northeast Mississippi are elated that Toyota has set a date for start of production to build the Corolla at their eighth North American assembly plant on the Wellspring Project site. This announcement is welcome news to all involved in the recruitment of Toyota, and even more importantly, it is great news to the hard working people of Northeast Mississippi.
“The PUL Alliance (the Regional Economic Development in Northeast Mississippi) never lost faith in Toyota. We always said it was not a matter of if, but when,” said Wayne Stokes, president of the Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors and PUL Alliance chairman. “During this period the company continued to fulfill its commitments, and we knew when the time was right they would resume the schedule. Working on the Wellspring Project since 2001, the counties have experienced waiting, and sometimes the best rewards come after a long wait. Now with the popular Corolla production, and hiring beginning in the fall, it makes us all truly appreciate the impact these jobs will have for our local economy. The PUL Alliance never stopped working on the project, and we are ready to move forward with the company and the State.”
The magnitude of Toyota’s decision to build the Corolla, the best-selling car of all time, at its Blue Springs location will produce an economic impact that is unprecedented in this region. Toyota’s creation of 2,000 stable, well-paying jobs will be a catalyst for further job creation in the region. As automotive suppliers who have already located in the area restart their operations and other suppliers seek to move operations to Northeast Mississippi, the potential for an additional 5,000 jobs is imminent.
“We never lost confidence in this fine company,” said Danny Jordan, Union County Supervisor president. “The timing for the company to open this state-of-the-art facility and the flexibility of the communities involved signifies a true partnership between Toyota and the PUL Alliance.”
Since its formation in September 2001, the PUL Alliance partnership marketed the Wellspring Project Site that Toyota now calls home. In the interim, PUL Alliance officials have utilized the time to continue fostering the partnership and ensure that when Toyota was ready to manufacture automobiles, that all of their commitments would be met and that the workforce would be ready to meet the needs of Toyota and its suppliers.
“On behalf of the people of Northeast Mississippi, we thank you for your continued investment in our community. Completion of the project creates a bright future for our region, along with the existing manufacturers in the area. This announcement creates the potential to excel job creation in the region and will speed economic recovery,” said Darrell Rankin, president of the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
As part of the 2007 announcement that Toyota would build an automotive manufacturing facility at the Wellspring Project site, the company also revealed that it would donate $50 million, $5 million a year for 10 years, to education in the PUL counties. After two years of study by an appointed Toyota Education Endowment Fund Committee, plans have been announced to build the Center for Professional Futures, an educational facility that will expose students in the eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee Counties to professional careers through high performance teaching and a modern learning environment.
“Toyota staunchly kept their commitments to the PUL Alliance counties, especially through the Toyota Education Endowment Fund,” said David Rumbarger, president and CEO of the Community Development Foundation, the marketing agency for the PUL Alliance, and Lee County appointee to the Education Endowment Committee. “Through the education endowment, Toyota is already affecting hundreds of school children in the Northeast Mississippi community and will continue to do so through the new high school - Center for Professional Futures.”
“We welcome the opportunity to continue our partnership with the company and its suppliers, and we are grateful for the support of the agencies that were involved as Toyota is moving forward again,” said Randy Kelley, executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the administrative agency for the PUL Alliance. “The Alliance never stopped managing and providing leadership to complete the necessary utilities during this interim time. Saying that we are elated is an understatement. We’re fired up and ready to help them make cars in Blue Springs!”