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IDB Discusses New Whirlpool Location
by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Industrial Development Board of Bradley County and the City of Cleveland met this morning at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss a variety of topics. The biggest discussion surrounding the new Whirlpool location off of Benton Pike.

Doug Berry gave the financial report for work that has been done on the Benton Pike site since Whirlpool expressed interest in it. There has been multiple Engineering, Geotechnical and Environmental work performed on the site, along with surveying expenses and the production of a topographical map. These expenses, to date, amount to around $225,000. The company (Whirlpool) will be reimbursing the Industrial Development Board for the expenses.

Berry also asked the board today if they would approve a move to secure an appraisal for property adjoining the Benton Pike Whirlpool site. This property is needed for a railroad right of way. The appraisal will be done on approximately 40 acres owned by a Cleveland family. It is in discussion right now for the family to sell just a portion of their land to accommodate for the railway or if they wish to go ahead and sell all of it. Berry currently doesn't have an answer as to which the family will choose. The vote to move forward was approved and more will be available after the appraisal has taken place and Berry enters back into delegation with the family.

Berry also discussed the mitigation process. Whirlpool's new site includes streams and tributaries which will need to be mitigated. There is also a stream and wetland permitting process that has to be gone through. An additional concern is the old body shop located across the street on Michigan Avenue, which at one time was operable, and used many solvents and other chemicals that could have penetrated the ground and entered the water supply. Berry continued that all will be taken care of and adequate vegetation, trees and rock will line the new streams to compensate for an aquatic atmosphere.

A public hearing will be held with the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation on Tuesday, September 28th at 6 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Chamber of Commerce in the Village Green Town Center.

In other business, Berry announced that approval has been given to enter into contract with Dillard Construction to build a 50,000 square foot speculative industrial building on an existing 18 acre site in the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Park. The building is expandable up to 150,000 square feet if someone is interested and needs more space.

Residents in the McDonald Community have been expressing their concerns to Berry in regards to a tract of land that has been purchased for an industrial development. The IDB now has a 343 acre parcel under option, which was part of the Jones Lakeland property. Berry stated he has been "in dialogue" with the residents and their main concerns seem to revolve around a reaction to expansion and growth of this nature in the area. Berry will continue to work with the residents and hear them out due to the many factors that make up the McDonald Community, including several historic farm sites.

The Industrial Development Board will meet again at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16th at the Chamber of Commerce.