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Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement initiates transformative EARTH project


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE) recently unveiled an ambitious plan that promises to breathe new life into East Alabama.

In a historic move, SAFE has acquired the land where the iconic former Eva Jane Avondale Mills manufacturing facility once stood, marking the birth of the East Alabama Rural Innovation and Training Hub, or EARTH.

This momentous milestone has been made possible through the collective efforts of community leaders at local, state, regional, and national levels.

The project has received support from the Talladega County Legislative delegation, including Representatives Ben Robbins, Steve Hurst, Barbara Boyd, Randy Wood, Senators Lance Bell and Keith Kelley, as well as the Talladega County Commission, featuring Commissioners Kelvin Cunningham, Phillip Morris, Malley Limbaugh, Darryl Ingram, and Tony Haynes.

EARTH will usher in a new era of growth, innovation, and community empowerment. This visionary initiative will take a comprehensive approach, nurturing human potential, fostering innovation, creating job opportunities, utilizing local resources, and promoting community engagement.

The sprawling EARTH campus will become a dynamic hub where organizations, businesses, and the community can collaborate to address challenges and develop impactful solutions.

SAFE’s CEO, Margaret Morton, highlighted the historical significance of the Avondale Mills site, saying, “In its 109-year history, Avondale Mills expanded to include plants throughout Alabama. By the years 1947 and 1948, Avondale Mills had reached its apex with 7,000 employees. As we embark on this transformative journey at the historic Avondale Mills location, we honor the legacy of industry and progress that has been synonymous with this site.”

Jesse Cleveland, Board President for SAFE, added, “This project underscores our commitment to the community’s well-being and economic prosperity. The impact of EARTH will resonate far beyond its physical presence, as it nurtures a skilled workforce, cultivates innovation, and fortifies industries that drive our region’s growth.”

EARTH’s multifaceted strategy will empower the workforce with skills tailored to current and future demands. Key industry clusters such as manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, information technology, energy, regenerative agriculture, early childcare and education, and hospitality/culinary arts will be at the forefront of EARTH’s initiatives.

SAFE, a community-based nonprofit organization, has a long history of enriching families and promoting community growth. With the establishment of EARTH, SAFE is poised to lead Sylacauga and East Alabama into a prosperous future.

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