Washington County seeks grants for industrial park

Robert Houk • Nov 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Economic development officials are applying for a number of state grants they say will build on recent success at the Washington County Industrial Park.

Alicia Summers, vice president of business development for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, said Thursday that Ebm-pabst coming to Washington County as part of a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement has helped pave the way for funding to expand the industrial park.

“When we landed the Starlight project (Ebm-pabst), it opened doors for other opportunities with the state,” Summers told members of the county’s Commercial, Industrial and Agriculture Committee.

Committee members approved an application for a grant through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s State Industrial Access Program to extend a road in the park to a cul-de-sac near Blalock Road. The $3 million road construction project would come at no cost to the county.

The project also also calls for installing a traffic signal and making improvements to the entrance of the industrial park at Precision Boulevard off U.S. Highway 11E in Telford.

“We are working with so many moving pieces,” Summers said, noting the road work will be going on at the same time as Ebm-pabst is constructing its manufacturing facility in the park and the town of Jonesborough is installing water/sewer lines to the new plant.

The committee also agreed to a resolution to spend as much as $40,500 to do the preliminary work needed to qualify for a site development grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Summers said the matching grant will help the county to do a master plan for a 37-acre tract in the industrial park near the road extension. 

Ebm-pabst — a German fan and motor manufacturer — announced in May it will bring 200 jobs and a $37 million investment to the industrial park. It is the fourth manufacturer to locate at the site.

Bush Hog, now a Swedish company called ALO-TN, was the first to locate there in 2001. Two Japanese companies — Koyo/JTEKT and Nakaetsu Machining Technologies — joined it in 2006.

Washington County officials agreed in 2015 to spend $1.2 million to extend a road and utilities to a 67-acre portion of the industrial park. The Washington County Economic Development Council contributed $250,000, and Tennessee Valley Authority granted the county $300,000 for the $1.8 million improvement project.

Tennessee economic development officials named the pad-ready portion of the park a Select Tennessee Certified Site in 2017, which meant it could be marketed to potential employers as ready for construction of their manufacturing facilities.

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