Editorial: New GE logistics center in Murray County to provide much-needed jobs

Metro Dalton received rough economic news when word broke that the locations of two large chains — fitness facility Gold's Gym at the Dalton Mall and O'Charley's restaurant on West Walnut Avenue — were closing at the end of June.

While the locations could remain empty for some time, the area also lost numerous jobs that were filled by those who live in Whitfield and Murray counties. Tough times may be ahead for those employees now out of work.

That's why we want to highlight the great economic news that our area received on June 20 when GE Appliances announced it is building a $32 million logistics center in Murray County that will create 100 to 110 jobs. The center could be open within six to eight months. It is about a mile south of the Appalachian Regional Port in Crandall, which opened in August 2018.

The Appalachian Regional Port has become a distribution and intake point for businesses in north Georgia, northeast Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee, and will help move cargo to and from the Savannah port, according to officials. The Georgia Ports Authority operates the inland port. CSX controls the rail service. Officials said the port is expected to take 50,000 trucks off of the roads of Georgia each year.

This is the area's first big economic jolt since the Appalachian Regional Port was created. The company chose to build a logistics center in Murray County "to take advantage of Georgia’s decision to expand the Port of Savannah to handle large trans-Pacific container ships, reducing reliance on cross-country trucking from West Coast ports. Connecting the port at Savannah by rail to the Appalachian Regional Port in northwest Georgia brings the benefits of the maritime port some 388 miles inland. This investment and the 100 new jobs it creates will bring untold opportunities to the Murray County area."

Overall, GE Appliances unveiled three projects in north Georgia the company said will create about 300 jobs. In addition to the Murray County logistics center, the company said it will invest $43 million in its Roper Corp. facility in Walker County, which it said will create 100 jobs, bringing employment there to more than 2,000, and it will build a $55 million warehouse in Jackson County that will also create 100 jobs.

Count us excited about the opportunities this Murray County logistics center will provide our area. We are hopeful more opportunities will come our way as we look to diversify our industry further beyond floorcovering.

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