Since the initial announcement in 2007, Ecru, like other towns, has been scrambling to get ready for the expected influx of people.
“We have annexed some property east of Ecru that is being developed into a subdivision,” said Mayor Tom Todd.
Todd said that while Oak Hill is supplying the water, “We are supplying the sewer. We are in good shape on sewer because our lagoon is not even 50 percent capacity yet.
“For the next 10 or 15 years I think we are going to be in good shape.”
As for fire protection, Todd praised the county.
“The county saved us when they bought us the new truck so we are ready when it comes to fire equipment, pumping ability and water ability,” he said.
Todd said he is looking forward to what the future will bring for his small town.
He sees not only the people that will be working at the main plant, but also at other plants that will supply Toyota.
But an area of concern has to do with the town’s appearance.
“We still have sidewalk issues – they have been here 60 or 70 years,” he said. “We are taking some out and talking about some new ones. It is an issue that will be going on for some time.”
Even without a boost from Toyota-related business, Ecru already is experiencing growth, including schools.
“In fact, the school board just let a contract for a new middle school that will go right here in the city limits,” Todd said.
The middle school now is on the main campus with the other schools. The new one will be located about a quarter of a mile away on old Highway 15.
“That means we are still growing,” Todd said. “I am very anxious to get the census back to find out what our population is, but I think it will be the first of the year.
“Hopefully we will be over 1,000 people by then.”
Federal grants are available to help small towns with their development efforts, but Ecru often isn’t qualified to receive a grant.
Another positive aspect helping Ecru build for the future is on Main Street.
“It is going to be exciting times,” he said. “I want to be in on it. I hope to be able to change our lifestyles and kind of go with the flow.
“I think the whole community will see a lifestyle change and hopefully it will be for the better.”