A community that seemed on the road to becoming a ghost town has taken a turn toward prosperity despite the recession, thanks to an automaker.
Korean car manufacturer Kia plans to open a sprawling automobile factory in tiny West Point, Georgia, by the end of the year. The boon has already spurred economic growth -- and just plain excitement -- among residents, said Mayor Drew Ferguson.
"We jokingly call it Kia-ville," said Ferguson, a 42-year-old dentist helping to oversee expansion of West Point, population 3,500. The announcement is drawing workers and businesses to the community about 80 miles south of Atlanta.
"The revitalization of the community is touching every aspect," Ferguson said. "
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On Main Street, residents are sampling new flavors that have come to West Point since the announcement.
Asian restaurants and businesses are popping up. The old Pizza Hut has transformed into a Korean Bar-B-Que, and the southern staple KFC is now a popular Korean eatery called Young's Garden.
Resident Christy Magbee said West Point is starting to feel like a melting pot.
"You got the culture coming in. You don't have to travel to Atlanta anymore. It's starting to come here," she said.
There's a video report as well, which says the town of 3,500 will gain 20,000 jobs over the next 5 years.