Economic Development

More than half of our city governments’ tax base is supported by local sales taxes, making it critical that the Huntsville area maintain and grow its position as the regional retail center for North Alabama. To compete, our community must develop incentives to stimulate retail development. The eight Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plans in the City of Huntsville enacted in the past few years are excellent examples. Strategic planning for retail growth and national marketing initiatives should also be expanded.

While the Committee of 100 works on economic development issues throughout Huntsville, Madison, Madison County, and the incorporated areas of Limestone County, our members believe that healthy economic regions include a vibrant and active downtown. The Committee of 100 worked for four years to form and get non-profit IRS status for Big Spring Partners, a privately funded organization to stimulate downtown development. It was modeled after a successful organization in Chattanooga and launched in October 2004. The Committee of 100 also played a major role in forming Downtown Huntsville, Inc. in 2012 as a private, membership organization focused on economic growth and vitality and hire an experienced full-time CEO. The Committee of 100 continues to financially and politically support both organizations in their missions to bring new retail, residential, and commercial activity to stimulate the downtown economy and attract and retain the young professional workforce. The Committee of 100 also funded the first gateway to downtown Madison and continues to offer support to revitalization efforts.

To replace the expected high number of retirees and fill the anticipated growth in new jobs, the Huntsville-Madison County community must strategically recruit and work to retain young professional workers. The Committee of 100 has worked and continues to help strengthen young professional networking organizations and helps stimulate new groups within large employers. The Committee is also encouraging elected leaders to invest more in downtown development and the development of public parks, hiking trails, the riverfront and greenways, and quality of life features that are especially attractive to young professionals. We are also working with other organizations to involve college students and young professionals in the community and provide additional co-op and intern opportunities. For more information, please review the Huntsville Talent Magnet Report Summary. The Committee of 100 is partnered with the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville-Madison County and The Arts Council on a research effort to evaluate the success of this plan and develop new strategies.

The Committee of 100 works to encourage teamwork and cooperation among local governments, including the City of Huntsville, City of Madison and Madison County, believing we can accomplish greater success in economic development by working together. The Committee of 100 also works with other organizations and business leaders to encourage cooperative economic development efforts in the North Alabama region. The Committee of 100 has spearheaded a 20-year regional visioning effort — Launch 2035 — with area business leaders.


The Huntsville Committee of 100 believes the #1 economic development issue in our community today is the quality of public education. The Huntsville area has enjoyed rapid job growth and prosperity in this community primarily due to the outstanding reputation of our three public school systems.

The Committee of 100’s members are actively engaged in public school issues and regularly attend school board meetings across the three systems. Throughout the last five years, we’ve invested in many programs to build a culture of excellence in our three public school systems. We are fully committed to having the highest concentration of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in the country. NBCTs are proven to increase student achievement and improve classroom management nationwide. Learn more about the Creative Cities Fund’s current campaign.

Major Current Projects Related To Education

  • 2019-community-wide tax renewal
  • 2019 – Generated funding for 100 new National Board Certified Teachers for Huntsville City, Madison City and Madison County public schools; grants administered in partnership with The Schools Foundation.
  • 2018– Funded a professional development experience for 600+ Huntsville City Schools teachers and a community-wide poverty simulation to increase understanding of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • 2018 – Funded peer-to-peer mentoring programs to cultivate positive culture within local public high schools.
  • Support implementation of Alabama College- & Career-Ready Standards and other efforts to improve academic achievement in our three local school systems.
  • Improve career education and workforce readiness through the implementation of the PARCA Technical Education Plan in four targeted areas:  advanced manufacturing, construction, healthcare and hospitality.
  • Sponsor Business/Education Coalition to provide business support to all three local school systems and develop cooperative efforts to improve public education.

Major Accomplishments

  • Formed 1st BRAC Committee with regional leadership and funding.
  • Hired consultant to produce economic impact data.
  • Developed concept for Generals’ homes.
  • Transferred management to Chamber.
  • Commissioned PARCA Study on best practices in retail incentives resulting in TIF Plans.
  • Supported national retail marketing by Chamber and City of Huntsville.
  • Encouraged city, county elected leader support of TIF plans.
  • 8 TIFs have produced new and revitalized retail and new schools.
  • Community leader trip to Chattanooga
  • Hired River City attorney to form Big Spring Partners
  • Contracted with Big Spring Partners to form Downtown Huntsville, Inc.
  • Raised $1.4 million in 3-year pledges and hired experienced CEO
  • Partnered with Arts Council and Chamber of Commerce on plan to recruit/retain YPs
  • Hired Carol Coletta of Memphis to produce Huntsville Talent Magnet Report
  • Developed HYP partnership
  • Formed YP Workforce Coalition
  • Formed Committee of 100 YP
  • 10 years later UA Huntsville study showed 15% increase, reversing 10% decline
  • PARCA Study on Best Practices
  • Educators trip to Chattanooga
  • Formed Business/Education Coalition
  • Career Academies in all 3 school systems
  • Huntsville & Madison Mayor
  • Huntsville & Madison City Council
  • Huntsville Board of Education
  • Madison County Commission
  • Madison County Board of Education
  • Madison County Superintendent