Alexander City Residents Say It's Hard Finding Work

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By Jessica Gertler

From Alexander City-- Many residents say there are not enough jobs in the city to support the growing number of unemployed. This after it was recently announced that 200 Russell Athletic employees will be laid off in March.

"It's not a good feeling considering I've been at the Mill for over 32 years," says Thomas Oliver.

Oliver says the news is still sinking in. Four days into the new year, Oliver found out Russell Athletics was laying off 190 employees this March including him.

"Russell was top dog, you know, in the city. For a lot of us, it's going to be hard to find another job," he says. "You just got to keep hope alive."

Oliver is a father and sole-provider of his family. He says it will be hard finding another job within the city limits that pays as well as the job he has.

And take Jack Bradford. His daughter works at Russell Athletics.

He says she is worried, because "there's nothing else around here to do."

A problem many residents say they're facing.

"You're going to have to drive far. You're going to have to put some miles on your car and drive a little farther," says Nataya Thomas of Alexander City. "Most people go to Dadeville or Opelika. Most of them."

Alexander City Mayor Charles Shaw says he recognizes the problem, and it's his number one priority to fix it. He says there was an industry looking at the city last week.

"That's one of the main things right now, bring jobs to Alex City," Shaw says. "Hopefully, Russell will keep the ones they've got here. They are still the largest manufacturing plant here. "

Shaw says at the height of its success Russell employed 7,000 out of the city's 15,000 residents. Come March, they will employee 750.

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