Rep. Kent Williams hopes Texas fish hatchery tour will spur action on local hatchery

John Thompson • Nov 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Recently re-elected Rep. Kent Williams said he will be taking a trip with top state leaders to visit the Texas fish hatchery that is the inspiration for the proposed Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency fish hatchery for Elizabethton.

Williams told the members of the Carter County Tomorrow economic development organization about the proposed trip. He said the trip could include Gov. Bill Haslam or his deputy governor, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Tourism Commissioner Susan Whittaker and officials from the TWRA.

Williams said he is hopeful that funding for the $16 million-$20 million project could come from state bonds.

Williams told the county economic leaders that the proposed fish hatchery “is extremely vital to this community.”

Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson provided the group with a rundown on the projects he is working on. He said the state industrial access road, connecting two sections of the Watauga Industrial Park, is still in the works even though right-of-way acquisition and other problems have made the project take longer to start than originally anticipated.

Anderson is working to get a 20-acre parcel of land along Interstate 26 in Okolona included on a certified state list of rural properties ready for industrial development. He said the certification will place the acreage “on the radar screens of site selectors for industry.”

Anderson said there are several new businesses already setting up shop in the county or considering locating in Carter County. He said a small industry that will employ 45 people is committed but not ready to make an announcement yet. There is also company that makes emission controls taking a look at the county. If it came, that company would provide 250 jobs. The owner of a small food packing company is also being encouraged to relocate his plant, which employs 15 to 18 people. The draw appears to be the mountains and natural beauty of the county.

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