NEW ALBANY, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's no secret Toyota's impact to our area has been huge from new industry to new housing and educational opportunities.
When the first Corolla rolled out from the Blue Springs plant, surrounding communities braced for an economic boom. So far, New Albany leaders said the growth has been gradual.
"We are just trying to focus more on beautification so people will choose New Albany to relocate. We have seen some small growth, and I think that's what we will see over a period of time," said Vicki Duke of the New Albany Main Street Association.
Initially, leaders said they expected growth to be consistent with what Georgetown, Kentucky, experienced when Toyota landed there over 20 years ago. Leaders said population in Georgetown has almost tripled.
But Kitty Dougoud of the Main Street Association in Georgetown said growth here will be different from Georgetown.
"One thing is that the Toyota plant here was designed for a region, whereas we have the largest plant in North America, and we were designed to employ people throughout our entire state," Dougoud said.
Dougoud said communities can expect some growth in tourism and small growth in housing and education. But the greatest growth, she said, will be in traffic.
"There's a lot more traffic, which is a good thing because that means those people are driving by your businesses and coming to your community. I think you will find everything will not be like it is today. But you will still maintain that small town character with a lot of urban growth that goes with that," added Dougoud.
Dougoud said communities can use the time to be proactive by building neighborhoods, adding green spaces and protecting historic buildings.