Tag Archives: megasite

ECD revises effort to market West TN megasite

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd got favorable reviews Tuesday from a group assembled to watch videos of ECD’s latest efforts to find businesses that will locate in the West Tennessee megasite, reports the Jackson Sun.

“We know we’ve got no excuses,” Boyd, the state’s ECD commissioner said about bringing a major company to the site. “We’ve got the great site, the great collaborative material, a great state of support — and so we’re excited about hitting the road.”

Boyd and Clint Brewer, assistant ECD commissioner for communications and marketing, showed a room full of chamber leaders and city and county mayors the two marketing videos that highlight the property and the plusses of building in West Tennessee, a pamphlet book and a new website to attract businesses worldwide that might move to the Megasite.

Boyd said the state has a list of 34 companies to pitch the Megasite to, 35 if you count Apple, which announced Monday it would be building an electric car by 2019.

“There’s no guarantee of success, but like at the start of every football season everybody says they’re going to win the Super Bowl, we believe we can win the Super Bowl,” Boyd said. “We’re determined to try and get it done — and now we’re going to go get it done.”

…Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith, the county where the site is located, has been an outspoken critic of the state’s urgency with the site, but Tuesday applauded ECD’s showing.

“I think the state did an excellent job putting this together,” Smith said.

Smith also said he agrees with Boyd in that the state has no excuses for not being able to bring a major company to the site.

A change of plans for West TN Megasite: No wastewater dumping

The state has changed its approach to marketing the sprawling Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County away from a single mammoth manufacturer toward several smaller major industries, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said Thursday’s news that his agency is withdrawing a request for a state permit to discharge treated wastewater into the Hatchie River from industries in the megasite is part a larger realization that it should alter its overall view of developing one of the largest industrial sites in the Southeast.

Since the megasite’s inception nearly a decade ago, state and Haywood County officials have looked on the 4,100-acre site bordering Interstate 40 about 20 miles east of Arlington as a potential location for another giant auto plant like Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Nissan in Smyrna and General Motors in Spring Hill.

But such economic bonanzas for states and communities are few and far between.

“It is good news for those concerned about the Hatchie River that there is not going to be water going into the Hatchie. But from an economic development point of view, I think the equally big news is that we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s rare if not impossible in today’s economic environment to find any company that actually needs 4,100 acres of land,” Boyd told The Commercial Appeal Friday.

He was in Brownsville Friday afternoon delivering a similar message to local leaders.

Note: See also the Jackson Sun, which reports on the Brownsville meeting. Excerpt:

Boyd… couldn’t give specifics, but said all the water handled for businesses would be self-contained in stackable tanks that could be added onto as more companies move into the area.

For months, residents fought against the state to ensure the industry that eventually locates at the Megasite does not dump its wastewater into the state-certified scenic river.

…Boyd said the reversal was partly due to the protests, but was also because the state was planning a 4 million-gallon water treatment plant, which would be far too large, he said.

“So the good news is, we solved two things at once,” Boyd said.

…Michael Philpot, executive director of West Tennessee Industrial Association, attended Friday’s meeting. He said the “do no harm” strategy in dealing with the Hatchie could help the state as they look for a company to locate at the Megasite.

“There’s corporate executives, companies we’ve worked with in the past, that are more environmentally sensitive than others,” Philpot said. “Being green is part of their (business). Some of them wouldn’t take to dumping either or would have a discomfort with it.”

Miscellaneous TN Politically-Oriented News Notes

Ramsey Backs Business Cost Estimates on Bills
According to TNReport, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey supports the idea of having legislative staff calculate the cost to business of legislation under consideration in the General Assembly.
“Right now we’re just ignoring it (costs to companies) and putting it directly onto business,” the Blountville Republican said. “What does this cost a business when we pass a bill?
“In the long run, it will save the state money and save businesses money” to attempt to calculate those costs up front,” he said.

A Chattanooga Photo Voter ID Effort
From the Chattanooga TFP:
State Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, said she, other elected officials, churches, elected officials, fraternal, community, civic and professional organizations have formed the Tennessee Voters Assistance Coalition.
It is aimed at helping people get proper photo ID by giving them assistance in obtaining documents like birth certificates and providing transportation.

Southerland: It’s ‘Our Turn’ for Megasite
State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, says that for folks in Northeast Tennessee “it’s our turn” for creation of a new Megasite for industrial development tells TNReport that moves are underway toward that goal. But…
State Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said recently he had heard the subject come up in regard to Upper East Tennessee, but he downplayed the potential.
“In terms of a new large-scale megasite like West Tennessee, I think there is a lot of optimism we might be able to do that in other parts of the state, but there is nothing along that magnitude on the drawing board right now,” Hagerty said.

Estimates Could Cost Electrolux
Electrolux, which is relying on state and local government for much of its funding for a new Memphis facility, might have to reach deeper into its own pocket, reports the Commercial Appeal.
Construction bids for an Electrolux site at Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park are about $30 million higher than expected, but company executives and city officials say the Swedish appliance manufacturer remains committed to building the facility.
Sundquists Open Their Home
Don and Martha Sundquist, who moved to Townsend from the governor’s residence, are opening their home to public visits for the first annual “Fall Mountain Home Tour,” Friday, Oct. 28, reports the News Sentinel. It is one of four on the tour, a benefit for the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. He is on the board; she is on the guild.
The house, centered on views of Mount LeConte, is designed around the outdoors. “There are no curtains anywhere in the house,” (Martha Sundquist) says. A waterfall visible from the deck prompts an explanation.
“I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to live on a mountain top or near a waterfall. Don said, ‘you can always build a waterfall later.'” She didn’t have to wait long; the landscaped water feature was her 45th anniversary gift.

Ramsey Decries ‘Complete Falsehood’ in Megasite Matter

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he’s supportive of the West Tennessee megasite and necessary funding from the state, reports the Jackson Sun, despite assertions to the contrary from Rep. Johnny Shaw and other Democrats.
Ramsey, a Republican from Blountville, said in a news release Friday that an assertion from state Rep. Johnny Shaw that Ramsey was playing politics with funding for the megasite was “unfounded and inaccurate.”
“I have not attempted to withhold funding for this megasite, and any statement to the contrary is a complete falsehood,” Ramsey said in the release. “I absolutely support this project. To my knowledge, there is no current request for funds in the pipeline. As soon as there is, we will look at the request and act on it. I have every expectation that any monies needed to complete the project will be released expeditiously.”
Shaw, a Democrat from Bolivar, and State House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh accused Ramsey and the all-Republican State Building Commission on Thursday of withholding $35 million in money needed to begin infrastructure improvements to the megasite, which is in Haywood County. The accusations came after local lawmakers learned there was no new state funding designated for the megasite in Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
The governor’s office and members of the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development have said funding was not added to next year’s budget because the original $35 million has not been spent.