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BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. – On June 21, Ford Motor Co. officials pledged to be good neighbors for those in rural West Tennessee who live near the automaker’s planned electric truck plant, a project that is expected to create thousands of jobs and changing the face of the region.
More than 200 people attended a roundtable at a high school in Brownsville, one of many communities likely to be affected by Ford’s $5.6 billion plan to build F-Series electric pickup trucks on a 3,600-acre parcel of land known as the Memphis Regional Megasite. in Haywood County.
The project, called BlueOval City, is a joint venture with SK Innovation, which will build battery factories at the Tennessee site and in Glendale, Ky. In western Tennessee, the project is expected to boost the economies of several counties. Ford plans to employ about 5,600 workers at the plant, while the construction of the plant and the arrival of Ford suppliers will create thousands of additional jobs.
The project is expected to attract small and large businesses to the area, including hotels, restaurants, healthcare facilities and others. Real estate values could also rise. But some residents have expressed concern that the changes could come with increased road traffic, noise, crime and other problems.
Panelists put on a friendly collective face and discussed topics ranging from workforce development to environmental issues to philanthropy. Ford officials said they look forward to hearing from and working with residents to make the project a source of community enrichment.
“As we begin the journey together, we are committed to Ford being a good neighbor,” said Dave Nowicki, manufacturing director, battery and electric vehicles,
Construction of the truck plant is expected to begin later this year, but crews have already begun ground leveling operations at the site. Ford said it plans to start production by 2025.
The entities linked to the project have already started to prepare. The Tennessee Valley Authority is building an electrical substation and nearly 10 miles of transmission line to supply power to the site and surrounding areas. A council that oversees the Megasite has met to discuss environmental issues. And the Transportation Security Administration will resume service to a regional airport in Jackson, about 40 miles from the site, in anticipation of an increase in travelers.
Ann McCormick, environmental and sustainability manager for the project, said Ford studied the area’s waterways and wetlands, in addition to an aquifer that provides water to homes and businesses. Ford has developed a pollution prevention plan to protect water resources at the site and “mitigate any impacts that construction may have.”
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