River important to economy as well

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2004

History was made in Selma once again on Monday morning.

This time instead of happening on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, it occurred underneath the bridge.

A barge floated underneath the bridge at 9:30 a.m. carrying a stamping press on its way to Hyundai’s Montgomery plant.

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This was not just a normal stamping press; it was one of the largest in the country weighing in at 2,276 tons.

The press will be used to compress steel sheets into various car components once the plant is fully operational in 2005.

The press left Tokyo on Feb. 5 and arrived in Mobile March 9.

Its journey began on the Alabama River on Wednesday and headed toward the Burkville GE plant.

Wayne Vardaman summed it up as best as anyone by saying, &uot;It signifies the development to come.

Hyundai is the catalyst for that development.

It’s all tied together.

The stamping press signifies that it’s happening.&uot;

The Alabama River is known for many things.

Most are recreational oriented.

However, this is proof that the river is an economic waterway.

There are industries who insist communities have access to a viable waterway before they commit to a location.

Had it not been for the maintenance efforts of those responsible, Hyundai would not have been able to move the much needed press to their Montgomery plant with such ease.

Our river is not a product that comes off an assembly line.

It is a vital part of Mother Nature as well as part of Selma and is a key ingredient to the region’s growth.