Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said the 400-acre industrial park wouldn’t be marketable without the road, which is approximately 1.5 miles long and connects Industrial Parkway and Whitehouse Road.
“Without this road, there wouldn’t be a Jasper Industrial Park,” Posey said during a ceremony to open the roadway Tuesday afternoon. “A lot of things had to fall into place to make this road happen, but a lot of people were working hard to make things happen that way.”
Posey said former State Sen. Charles Bishop played a vital role in securing funding for the road. Bishop’s efforts on the road project and his efforts to better Walker County throughout his political career led city officials to name the new road in his honor, Posey added.
Bishop attended Tuesday’s ceremony and also addressed the Jasper City Council earlier in the day.
“I never wanted a road or anything else named after me,” Bishop told council members. “I never thought politicians needed to be putting their names on stuff. If I was ever going to run for office again, I would beg you not to do this, but I will never be a candidate again. “
Bishop said he expects the roadway to bring jobs to Walker County.
“I thank you for honoring me by naming the street after me,” he said. “I have always been about bringing jobs to Walker County. I have had a business here for more than 40 years. We have a payroll of $100,000 per week. By doing my part to help make this road happen, it is another way that I could help bring jobs to our county.”
David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, said the Jasper Industrial Park is already on the radar of prospective businesses.
“We’ve had a lot of talks with people about coming to the Jasper park,” he said. “The road opening is going to make the park so much more marketable. Companies knew the road was coming, but it is here now, and that is a major positive for bringing industry into this park.”
David O’Mary, chairman of the Jasper Industrial Development Board, said he has high hopes for the future of industry in Walker County.
“We are going to see big things,” he said. “There has been a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people over the last few years pertaining to economic growth in our area. We are already seeing some of the results of that hard work, but I believe there are many more good things to come in the future.”