Top Headlines: Airbus expansion, Huntsville’s new park at Hays Farm

State leaders delighted with expansion news from Airbus
Alabama leaders hailed plans announced Thursday by Airbus to increase production of A320 aircraft at the company’s Mobile manufacturing facility, where it will invest $40 million to construct a new support hangar. Airbus said today that it will increase the production rate of A320 family aircraft at its U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile to seven per month by the beginning of 2021. “I look forward to seeing Airbus reach future milestones at its U.S. manufacturing home in Sweet Home Alabama,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. – AL Department of Commerce

Huntsville to build $3.6 million park at Hays Farm
The details emerged a bit more clearly on the giant development in south Huntsville as the city council approved $3.6 million to build a public “open space” amid the mixed-use project. The Hays Farm – promising a development of hundreds of single-family homes as well as retail and multi-family facilities on land located behind Home Depot – will also have a nine-acre park funded by the city touted as a “gathering place” for the community. –

Birmingham VA Medical Center to reopen after lockdown
The Birmingham VA Medical Center will be back open for normal business this morning after being on lock down for most of Thursday. Authorities say they are looking for Cornett Evans, 46, in connection with the lockdown. Evans is wanted on a murder warrant in the shooting death a woman in Huntsville. – WVTM

USDA says Alabama’s family farms hanging in there
Families are the cornerstone of agriculture in Alabama, where 97% of farms counted in the recent 2017 Census of Agriculture are family owned. Although the number of farms in Alabama decreased 6% from 2012, the average size of farms increased 3%, mirroring a trend seen in states across the nation. With 73% of farms connected to the internet, Alabama farms and ranches continue to reach others across the globe. – USDA

Alabama roofer faces federal fines in underage worker death
An Alabama roofing company is facing nearly $160,000 in federal fines after a 15-year-old worker fell 40 feet to his death at a job site last summer, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday. Apex Roofing and Restoration LLC and a subcontractor were found to have exposed employees to fall hazards at the Cullman work site without adequate protection and to not have properly trained workers, OSHA ruled Thursday.  The teenager, whose name was not released, was described by police as a Guatemalan national living in Alabama. – AP

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New-to-Huntsville hotel coming to MidCity District
A new-to-Huntsville is coming to the sprawling MidCity District, the second hotel to be announced at the multi-use development at the site of the former Madison Square Mall. Hotel Indigo, a branded boutique from InterContinental Hotels Group, is expected to begin construction in the spring, according to MidCity developers RCP Companies. It will feature 120 rooms in the five-story facility and is targeting a mid-2021 opening. –

Kentucky plant begins production of 2020 RAV4 Hybrid
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky began production of the 2020 RAV4 Hybrid crossover this week. The RAV4 Hybrid had its best sales year to date in 2019 at 92,525, up 92.3 percent from 2018. The plant in Georgetown, Ky., Toyota’s largest in the world, is known for producing the Toyota Camry and now builds four electrified vehicles, including the Avalon Hybrid, Camry Hybrid and Lexus ES 300h, Toyota said in a release. – Automotive News

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