Spotlight: Coffee, Dale & Geneva Counties

A Chinook helicopter hovers at Fort Rucker. Photo by U.S. Army

Coffee, Dale and Geneva counties are part of the Wiregrass region of the state. 

Fort Rucker and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence are key players here, training helicopter pilots and providing both military and civilian employment with an estimated $1.97 billion economic impact in the surrounding area. Fort Rucker also attracts retired veterans — some 6,500 live in the county, according to U.S. Census data.

The Alabama Board of Veterans Affairs announced in 2020 that Enterprise will be home to its fifth long-term health care facility — a $65 million project to house up to 175 residents and employ about 250 people. 

“We are blessed to have such a large number of veterans who have chosen Enterprise and Coffee County as their permanent home. Thousands more make their homes throughout our great Wiregrass area,” says Enterprise Mayor William Cooper. “We are honored to be able to play a role in giving back to those who have served and protected our country.”

Plans for the new facility, due to open in about three years, have boosted interest in health sciences careers, which were already popular because of the area’s three hospitals and other long-term care centers.

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Aviation and aerospace are healthy sectors here, too, because of the proximity of Fort Rucker with its training operations and military aircraft support contracts. Ozark, in Dale County, is home to the Alabama Aviation College, which also is expanding programs to meet the demand for jobs. 

Automotive suppliers are another healthy sector and are counted among the area’s largest manufacturing employers. The area has other companies that provide
parts for different types of vehicles, including truck trailer manufacturers and specialty Jeep parts. 

The distribution sector got a huge boost with the announcement that Amazon will be building a last-mile facility in Daleville in Dale County. Agriculture is very healthy, with announcements from food distribution giant Ben E. Keith building a $100 million advanced food service distribution center in Coffee County and a recent Wayne Farms poultry plant expansion. SYSCO Food Services Gulf Coast is one of Geneva County’s largest manufacturers. 

All three counties are encouraging growth – residential and commercial. Geneva County officials broke ground on a 45,000-square-foot speculative building in its industrial park, which should be finished this year. Others are beefing up infrastructure and airports. 

The region’s communities value quality of life, so park and downtown redevelopment projects are in progress to serve residents and visitors alike.

More from Spotlight:

Economic Engines
Community Development
Higher Education
Culture & Recreation

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