Tri-county economic partnership's capital campaign enters public phase

Zach Vance • Jan 26, 2017 at 8:05 PM

After nearly three years of pitching an economic regionalization plan, forming a partnership and gathering commitments, it was time to celebrate. 

The Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, consisting of public officials and businessmen from Washington, Unicoi and Carter counties, entered into the public phase of its fundraising efforts on Thursday with a “kickoff” event at the Millennium Centre. 

Mitch Miller, CEO of the Washington County Economic Development Council, and Ron Scott, campaign chairman of the initiative, announced the group had raised $5.1 million of its $5.5 million five-year fundraising goal. 

Scott said the group hopes to gain the additional $400,000 in commitments by March. 

The broad goal of the partnership is to attract 4,000 jobs to the region by 2022, while also committing $100 million in capital improvements. 

“The program goals are bold but achievable if we all work together,” said Scott, who is also CEO of Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union. 

“Partnership 2021 is a valuable investment in our community. Creating jobs and capital investment, developing our workforce, recruiting new business and retaining our successful industry are all valuable outcomes of this initiative.” 

While the social event celebrated the partnership’s achievements, Scott said the group still has plenty of work for the future. 

“This is a celebration of just the beginning,” Scott said. “The celebration is largely getting three counties together to work as one, to promote the area and promote the talent that we have here. The work is just beginning.” 

The funds raised through the partnership will be invested in retaining and expanding existing industries, marketing the region, site development and infrastructure. 

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said he truly believed the partnership would be economically beneficial to his county. 

“We have to have unity. All of these internal lines have to come down. We have to work as one if we’re ever going to be successful,” Humphrey said. “It’s been a long time getting here.” 

The partnership also attracted several local businesses that decided to invest in regional economic development for the first time. 

“The public sector’s interest in collaborating across jurisdictions through a new economic partnership was a strong signal to Mullican Flooring that our public officials are ready to market this great area as a whole,” Mullican President Neil Poland said.

During the fundraising period, NeTREP garnered $1.44 million is “new money,” which represented by investments from businesses that were new to directly funding economic development. 

Any business or individual interested in investing in NeTREP can call 855-885-3685 for more information. 

“We do have members who are independent folks who work out of their home,” Scott said. 

Email Zach Vance at [email protected] Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP.

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