Red Bay welcomes Girard Systems

The City of Red Bay is making great strides toward industrial development – a fact council members celebrated at the Sept. 17 city council meeting.

Mayor Charlene Fancher announced Girard RV Awnings, or Girard Systems, will be opening a branch in Red Bay in the West Franklin Industrial Park. Tiffin Motorhomes orders its awnings exclusively from Girard, but the company also provides awning services to other customers as well, Fancher said. The company is planning to provide 40 RV parking spots for customers who are getting their awnings serviced and 10 cottages for customers to stay in, as well.

“Today is a happy day for Red Bay. This is very exciting,” Fancher said.

The happy announcement was preceded, however, by a bit of controversy regarding the industrial park.

State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow addressed the council about a press release that was sent out Sept. 8 that stated Sen. Larry Stutts helped Red Bay secure a $250,000 grant for the West Franklin Industrial Park.

In the press release it said Red Bay officials have already applied for the grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Morrow said he contacted the industrial board and the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments and discovered Red Bay has not actually applied for the grant yet.

“I don’t understand what’s going on; I simply wanted to bring this to your attention,” Morrow said. “In my opinion, you are being used as a political pawn.”

Mayor Fancher and the council clarified they had nothing to do with the press release that was sent out by Bullseye Media with the incorrect information stating they have already applied for the grant.

“We received a verbal commitment, but we still must go through the process. There has been no application,” Fancher said.

The verbal commitment Fancher spoke of was from ADECA director Kenneth Boswell. The grant process will take 60-90 days, according to NACOLG executive director Keith Jones.

Red Bay has received a letter permitting Girard Systems to begin construction while the grant process is being completed.

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