Good Tuesday morning, Memphis, where the seismic announcement that Ford Motor Co. is investing $5.6 billion to create a massive industrial complex near Memphis is still sinking in.
Ford on Monday said it would create a campus at the Memphis Regional Megasite, about 50 miles northeast of Downtown Memphis, to produce a new generation of electric trucks and electric vehicle batteries. Construction is set to start by the end of the year, manufacturing is expected to begin in 2025, and the company is expected to employ about 5,700 people, our Daniel Connolly reports.
The news about the so-called Blue Oval City drew immediate praise. “Today is a truly remarkable day for West Tennessee and the entire region,” said U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, a Republican who represents the area that includes the Haywood County side of the Megasite. “Ford’s investment in the Megasite will bring in thousands of jobs and will reshape West Tennessee’s economy for generations to come.”
State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, a Democrat who represents Memphis, said: “West Tennesseans will build the next generation of electric vehicles in America. That’s an amazing reality today. It’s actually difficult to overstate the significance of this announcement and the potential for transformative change that an underserved community will see from this historic investment.”
Local Ford dealer Kent Ritchey called the manufacturing plans “awesome,” saying “this is big-time economic development news.”
Gov. Bill Lee said the state competed with about 15 other states to bid for the project and called it “the largest single investment in this state’s history.”
He plans to call a special legislative session in the next few weeks to approve a subsidy payment to seal the deal: $500 million.
“This will have a generational impact on people and families across our state, especially in West Tennessee,” Lee said in a conference call Monday with reporters. “It begins really the accelerated transformation of West Tennessee that has to happen in order for our state to lead the nation.”
How the megasite took shape through the years
Tennessee has owned the former farmland where the megasite is located since 2009, and the goal of the megasite has always been to bring jobs to West Tennessee. Sitting near the town of Stanton, about an hour northeast of Memphis, the Memphis Regional Megasite was originally called the “Haywood Megasite” due to its location in Haywood County. In 2012, it was renamed to include Memphis in an effort to boost marketing prospects, our Gina Butkovich reports in this history of the development site.
Check back on the CA’s web site today for more news on the Ford project. Gov. Lee, Ford’s CEO and other executives as well as local dignitaries, are officially announcing Blue Oval City at 10 a.m. today at Shelby Farms Park.
FedEx driver fired after expletive-filled TikTok video
A FedEx employee is out of a job after he made an expletive-filled TikTok video claiming he would not deliver packages to homes if there were Black Lives Matter, President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris flags, USA Today’s Asha C. Gilbert reports.
“What’s up TikTok. Just wanted to come on here and let all you know if you have a Joe Biden, Kamala [expletive] camel toe [flag] posted up in front of your house — Black Lives Matter [flag], I will not deliver your [expletive],” Vincent Paterno, the employee, said.
Ja Morant, other Grizzlies are vaccinated
Ja Morant didn’t hesitate when asked if he was vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Memphis Grizzlies Media Day on Monday, our Evan Barnes reports.
“I’m vaccinated,” Morant said.
As one of the NBA’s leading young players, Morant made sure he got the vaccine because he knows people who have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He also wanted to protect his 2-year-old daughter Kaari. Morant’s choice falls in line with most of his Grizzlies’ teammates. General manager Zach Kleiman said the team is “a very good place” but declined to provide a specific percentage of players who are vaccinated.
Several other Grizzlies have said they are fully vaccinated, including Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, who received their first vaccine shots last season.
As Grizzlies start training camp, Jaren Jackson focuses on basketball, not his health
For the first time since his rookie season, Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t start a regular season press conference talking about injuries or his health, our Evan Barnes reports.
The Memphis Grizzlies forward talked about playing in five-on-five games with Ja Morant. How he’d run into teammates throughout the summer. For the first time in a long time, Jackson said he was having fun again now that he wasn’t hurt.
“The joy of just being able to go out there and shoot at random times in the night and call my dad and wake his (butt) up just to do something he wants to do,” Jackson said Monday. “Come rebound with me or talk to me about the game. All of that is back.”
Mark Russell is executive editor of The Commercial Appeal. You can reach him at 901/288-4509 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MarkRussell44
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