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Community could see impact as Huntsville leads lunar lander project

With the area already bursting at the seams, WAAY 31 wanted to know if roads and schools could handle additional growth, as Huntsville leads the way for man to return to the moon.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 6:19 PM

While the Marshall Space Flight Center says it won't need to add employees to oversee the lunar lander project, there's a potential for Huntsville's aerospace industry to really take off.

WAAY 31 learned about the potential impact the community could see.

“This is a great hub," Chris Myers said. "There’s great resources and availability of a workforce for that.”

People who call Huntsville and Madison home are not surprised the Marshall Space Flight Center was chosen to lead the Artemis Lunar Lander Project.

“Huntsville is definitely equipped to be that leader," Steven Vanhorn said. "We have the history of kind of being the leader in that industry.”

With the Mazda-Toyota plant, Google, and Facebook already bringing thousands of jobs to North Alabama, the area could see further growth in the private aerospace industry.

“Tons of start-ups, small businesses, and mid-size businesses that can lend a hand in the development of that program," Vanhorn said.

There's the potential impact on schools.

Madison City Schools is already experiencing growing pains and hopes to build new schools with a property tax increase.

Superintendent Robby Parker told WAAY 31 they'll make room for more.

Then, there's the issue of traffic.

The Alabama Department of Transportation told us more business could factor into future road projects.

“The City of Madison definitely needs the infrastructure to grow," Vanhorn said.

A large widening project starts Monday on Research Park Boulevard. Crews will expand a two-mile stretch from four lanes to six.

There’s also the 565-widening project expected to start early next year.

“Compared to other metro areas, I think the traffic here is moderately light and they’re making efforts to expand," Myers said. "It’s growing. There’s a lot of things happening here. I think it’s a really good place to be."

WAAY 31 reached out to the City of Huntsville to see if they had any comment about Marshall's role in Artemis. The mayor's office told us they'll wait to comment until after Friday's formal announcement.

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