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Jemison seeing ‘historic’ boom in business

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

Jemison has experienced a boom of new businesses in the past year, in what Mayor Eddie Reed described as a “historic time for the city.”

Reed estimated that about $8.5 million has been spent by new businesses or relocating businesses to build or remodel in the city in the past year.

“I think that’s history for the city of Jemison,” Reed said. “Never before in the city of Jemison, that I can recall, has that number of businesses invested in our city. It has impacted not only Jemison, but the county as well. It has really helped all of us.”

The influx of businesses has added jobs and tax revenue for the city. Reed said the Burger King alone supplied 40 new jobs.

Nine new entities in Jemison have either relocated, been built in the past year or are under construction now. These businesses are Concord Travel Center, Texaco, Burger King, the new Dollar General, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Marion Bank & Trust, Porter’s Automotive, Sneaky Pete’s and Suds R Us.

Six of the nine businesses are located in the heart of Jemison, near the intersection of U.S. 31 and County Road 42. The Suds R Us is relocating from its place on U.S. 31 to a location across the train tracks near North Main Street, a move that Reed hopes will start a trend in remodeling old buildings in what used to be downtown Jemison during the late 1800s.

“It’s a new construction going up in an old part of town. We’re very much interested in … going into old parts of town … and getting with the owners of some of those buildings to see if they would not be interested in trying to rehabilitate,” Reed said.

A goal brought up repeatedly in city council meetings has been preparation for growth and attracting new businesses. The vision of the city council is becoming a reality, and ordinances over the past several months have laid the groundwork for the present boom in business.

A key part of this preparation has been making changes to Jemison’s infrastructure. The sewage system, which recently received a nearly perfect score, has been approved for updates by the city council to accommodate growth. A new fire station is being built to better service the city and provide a quicker response time on the east side of the train tracks. Speed limits have been changed and new traffic lights have been approved to improve the roadways.