Small town could get 20,000 jobs


Imagine trying to make ends meet by commuting across town to the nearest city in search of employment. Transportation expenses add up, and there is little hope of a recovery to help your little town succeed.

Welcome to West Point, Ga., a tiny rural community south of Atlanta. Its population is just 3,500 and the recession has left it with an unemployment rate of 8.6% compared to the state's 9.7%. West Point's downtown area is almost deserted with scars of the economic slump well apparent. Not anymore, according to a CNN report.

Along the roads of West Point, signs display support for a new KIA auto factory that is set to open by the end of this year. KIA Motors, a Korean car manufacturer, will use the West Point factory to make the KIA Sorento. The new plant has already hired 500 workers and it hopes to bring 2,000 more on board in the years to come. This is great news for tiny West Point...or "Kia-Ville", as some residents like to call it.

The announcement draws workers and businesses to West Point from neighboring Alabama to burnt-out Detroit, Michigan. The community is well underway with preparation. Downtown West Point is bustling with infrastructure projects, hotel services, restaurants and more.

To make this KIA factory possible, the town's government has offered some economic incentives. Tax breaks of $400 million and 2,200 acres of former cattle farmland have been granted to KIA Motors in return for a thriving economy.

What's happening in West Point can and should happen across our nation. As states scrounge around trying to balance budgets while residents feel the pinch of the economy, businesses are awaiting opportunities. Offering incentives and clearing the way for economic growth will eventually help businesses and residents recover from this fiscal storm.