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Possible Industrial Site May Be Lost

by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Bradley County / Cleveland Industrial Development Board held their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday,  February 16, 2010 at 8 a.m. in the board room of the Chamber of Commerce. The following are highlights from that meeting.

First order of business, after approving the minutes of January 19, 2010, was to elect officer for the Calendar Year 2010. A motion was made to allow all current positions to refilled by their current holders. After a unanimous pass, Ross Tarver maintains the position as Chairman, Scott Taylor as Vice Chairman, George McCoin as Secretary / Treasurer and Tony Young as Vice Secretary / Treasurer.

Under the topic of old business, Doug Berry Vice President of Economic Development, updated the Board on current projects and prospect activity. Berry explained that the State as whole has seem the market slow down for prospecting, however, since the last meeting they had submitted buildings on two projects through the State of Tennessee. No background is known on these companies and Berry stated that they were "blind inquiries." The Board will be updated as information comes in.

Berry also gave an update on the current possible industrial sites located between I-75 and Highway 11. Two sites were reportedly being looked at and Berry met with  landowners of the first sight to reveal the appraised value of the land. There were approximately 200 acres that were appraised at between $13,000 and $14,000. The landowners, however, were not happy with the appraised price and declined the sale.

Without this parcel of land, the other sight has no development potential. Berry stated that he left on a good note and he had "asked them to get with me when they were comfortable with giving me a specific price per acre that they would like to get."

It was said that the appraiser was not hired by the landowners, but by the IDB, with agreement from the landowners. This is an improved property sight with homes, and Berry stated he wasn't sure how he feels about this appraised value due to those facts.

Chamber of Commerce President Gary Farlow discussed finding potential sites and getting some of them under option, so when the time comes, there are known properties and there is no negotiating under pressure.

Berry said that there are potential properties on the north end of town that would be great potential for a higher-end business park. "A perfect opportunity for a higher-end, white collar job pool."

City Mayor Tom Rowland inquired about the possibility of the Board buying the old airport property for development. Berry stated that because of the housing around the Hardwick Field site, it may lean more toward a business park, along the lines of a theta. It would be another two years before discussion could begin again. The old airport on Hardwick Field must remain open until the new airport in the Tasso Community is built.

Under new business, Farlow discussed a possible wetlands mitigation bank. He stated that he is currently talking to Westmore Church of God, who owns the land that used to be Rolling Hills Golf Course off of Candies Lane. Westmore already sold a portion of that land to the Airport Authority for wetland mitigation and the discussion has led to ask Westmore for the remaining parcels of land for a wetlands mitigation bank.

Farlow stated, "Several working projects have wetlands issues and that we [IDB] need to be looking at other places to inquire or work with the landowner on as mitigation banks. That way when we have projects, we already have credits in place where we could transfer those credits to other sites."

Westmore is interested in talking with IDB and discussing these points.

The Bradley County / Cleveland Industrial Development Board will hold their next meeting on March 16, 2010 at 8 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce.