Washington County expands industrial park

Gary B. Gray • Mar 19, 2016 at 6:37 PM

In November, Washington County commissioners voted to use nearly $1.2 million from the county’s fund balance to develop an access road, infrastructure and “pad” sites on a roughly 200,000-square-foot portion of the Washington County Industrial Park.

The amount approved was lower than the original figure thanks to the announcement of the Washington County Economic Development Council’s contribution of $250,000 toward the project.

The county will receive between $300,000 and $350,000 from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s InvestPrep program to help prepare the sites at the the industrial park. TVA will help the county market the sites at the industrial park. The project is expected to get underway this spring.

Total cost is estimated at about $1.8 million.

There have been 16 lost opportunities at the industrial park in the past two years, largely due to company officials who didn’t care to wait on the prepping and grading procedural process. This move is meant to help clear that path.

The areas to be graded and prepared for construction to secure tenants sits within a 67-acre portion of the 275-acre park, and could be expanded to a larger size. The final project cost, including grading, engineering, preparing pads for occupation and permitting, is closer to $1.8 million.

County Mayor Dan Eldridge has said companies are seeking to get a return on their investments as soon as they can, and if the county wants to see an increase in employment, investments such as this must be made.

“Time is money,” Mitch Miller, WCEDC CEO, said at a December meeting. He added that if the sites were ready to go, investments will follow at the par.

TVA will help the county market the sites at the industrial park. The project is expected to get underway in the spring.

Three companies now call the site home: Japanese companies Koyo Corp. and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies — both automotive related, as well as the Swedish company ALO Industries, which manufactures agricultural and farming equipment.

Late last month, commissioners also voted to spend $47,000 for the purchase of nearly 6 acres of land at the Washington County Industrial Park. The property, currently owned by ALO USA, will be used to provide easier access to a portion of the park receiving infrastructure improvements.

Email Gary Gray at ggray@johnsoncitypress.com. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.