Credit crunch hurts biz park development

On Sunday, the News Sentinel and, take a look at how the credit crunch has slowed development of Pellissippi Place, a technology business park being developed by Knox and Blount counties and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville.

Access to capital is hurting commercial development across the country. Both small businesses and public-private groups like the Industrial Development Board of Blount County, which owns Pellissippi Place, are having trouble getting loans.

Help could be on the way. But politics could get in the way. Now there’s a surprise.

A House committee earlier this week passed a bill that would create $30 billion lending program for small businesses. (The vote was pretty much on party lines) In essence, the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 would provide capital that communty banks would then make available to small biz.

President Obama proposed a similar plan earlier this year.

If the bill becomes law, the funding plan would not directly help the Blount County IDB, but it could provide a source of capital for small businessess interested in moving to Pellissippi Place

Not everyone thinks the Small Business Lending Fund is a great idea.

Investors Business Daily’s Capital Hill blog questions whether the bill would really help small businesses and suggests that “the lack of small-business loans may reflect weak demand rather than tight credit.”

I think Capital Hill blog is missing the point. Anything that increases small biz access to capital would be a good thing in the current lending climate.

Read more about the  Small Business Lending Fund here.

Check out the Pellissippi Place website here.