Elevator should be installed in Workforce Development Complex in January

John Thompson • Dec 6, 2017 at 10:52 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Workers are currently installing a new elevator in the second building of Carter County’s Workforce Development Complex.

When the work is completed, it will allow the Elizabethan campus of Northeast State Community College to expand their operations to the second floor of that building. The building is owned by the Carter County Commission, but is leased and operated by the Carter County Tomorrow economic development group.

Complex Maintenance Supervisor Ron Kirby discussed the project during Wednesday’s meeting of Carter County Tomorrow. Kirby said the elevator should be ready by mid-January. Treasurer Kim Eggers said the cost of the new elevator will be $154,000.

Kirby said Vertical Solutions is directing the project.

The elevator provides service for just two floors, but it will make a big difference for the Workforce Development Complex, because it will allow Northeast to use the second floor. Prior to the elevator’s installation, the college could not occupy the second-floor space because it would not be in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

In other matters involving the Workforce Development Complex, Jon Hartman, planning director for the city of Elizabethton, said discussions are continuing with AccelNow to develop a business incubator in the facility. He said the emphasis was on encouraging local individuals with entrepreneurial interests.

Hartman also gave an update on work being done to market the Matheson property on the eastern approach to Elizabethton. He said discussions are continuing with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to designate a curb cut onto the property from U.S. Highway 19E. Access to the property is currently confined to State Line Road.

Hartman also reported on the Watauga River Tax Increment Financing District. He said the proposed boundaries of the project have been retracted.

In the past, commercial property on West Elk Avenue had been included. He said the new boundary leaves out the West Elk Avenue section. The plans are to restrict the district to the property on the south bank of the Watauga River to the west of Tractor Supply. The Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park would be excluded.

The reason the properties on West Elk Avenue were not included is because the district’s emphasis is on encouraging development to undeveloped sections of the riverfront and industrially blighted parcels.

Hartman said public notice of the proposed district would soon be made. Following that, there would be discussion and approval sought from the Carter County Commission and the Elizabethton City Council.

There will also be workshops with the offices of the Carter County Trustee and Property Assessor. Final approval would come from the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency.

Hartman said part of the discussions would be to assure the public that the district would have zero risk to the local governments and that the same property tax amounts would continue to come in. Eventually, all the increased revenue would revert to the city and county following the developments.

Hartman said some people have complained that development of the district was going to be made without deferring some of the increased property tax value to the district. Hartman said the counter to that argument is that the property hasn’t been developed over the past 20 years, so it appears unlikely that it would be developed in the next 20 years.

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