economic development

Opposition develops to new megasite in Montgomery and Robertson counties

Opposition has surfaced to plans for creating an new 1,800-acre industrial megasite in Montgomery and Robertson counties, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. An online petition against the plan had garnered more than 230 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

One of the people behind the petition, Debra Moore, who lives “almost next-door” to the proposed megasite in Montgomery County, said residents have two basic concerns.

“The people out there are concerned about the impact on the farmland, which is some of the best farmland in our county, as well as the additional debt that (Montgomery) county would take on,” Moore said. “I guess we were all surprised … at why they had to skip-jump from Montgomery County’s existing industrial park (near exits 4 and 8 of Interstate 24), all the way out here.”

Residents who live near the proposed megasite chose the location because “they want to get away from the city,” Moore said. “They want the quiet lifestyle.”

… “We certainly respect the rights of residents in the area to voice their opinion, pro and con, on this development,” said Margot Fosnes, president and chief economic development officer with the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce. “This particular area has many qualities that make it attractive as a megasite, water availability and rail access being two critical assets. We are very cognizant of the importance of agricultural lands and their value to Robertson County and would work to make sure this project did not negatively impact these interests.

“This project could go a long way to providing more options for our farm families to keep their children and grandchildren working close to home.”

In an emailed statement, Robertson County Economic Development Board Chairman Roger Blackwood said the megasite is a realization of the board’s primary goal to create more, high-paying jobs for residents.

Note: The referenced petition is HERE.

ECD commissioner: Memphis Megasite needs another $72M in state funding

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe says another $72 million in state funding is needed to complete work on the Memphis Regional Megasite, reports the Jackson Sun. That would push total state investment in the 4,100-acre site, so far unused, well past the $200 million mark.

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State to spend another $2M on Megasite, seeking consultant to help

The state of Tennessee is asking for $2 million next year to whip the Memphis Regional Megasite into shape, a process that will include hiring an outside consultant to assess why the decade-long project hasn’t yet landed a major manufacturer, reports WPLN. The state has already spent about $140 million on the Megasite.

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Boyd going for dog lover votes?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd announced his donation of $10,000 toward creation of a dog park in Dyersburg Friday at a Chamber of Commerce/Dyer County Leadership event, reports the Dyersburg State Gazette.

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Boyd approved $1M grant to state Senate candidate’s company; Company PAC gave Boyd $5K

Shane Reeves, a Murfreesboro businessman seeking the GOP nomination in state Senate District 14, sent Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial campaign a $5,000 donation a year after Boyd as economic and community development commissioner signed off on a $1 million state grant to Reeves’ company, reports Tennessee Star.

The Star says this has unnamed “political observers” questioning whether Boyd “used his previous office as a platform to prepare a gubernatorial campaign by directing state grants to local officials and businesses who might, and in many cases have, support his run for governor.”

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West TN Megasite spurned by Toyota Mazda; Black campaign sees ‘inexcusable loss for our state’

State Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe has confirmed that the Memphis Regional Megasite as been eliminated from consideration for a new Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant, reports the Jackson Sun. A second, undisclosed company has also rejected the site.

Diane Black’s gubernatorial campaign promptly issued a statement to media declaring the decision indicates a failure to make Tennessee a business-friendly state – an apparent reference to former ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, one of Black’s opponents in the GOP gubernatorial campaign, and perhaps to Gov. Bill Haslam. Neither are mentioned by name in the statement.

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TN September jobless rate 3 percent; all counties below 5 percent

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today that in September 2017, for the first time ever, below 5 percent in every county across the state. This is the second consecutive month rates have declined in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.   Continue reading

TN 3.3% unemployment rate is lowest in Southeast

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips announces a preliminary unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for August, declining one-tenth of a percent from the previous month. This marks an all-time low for the statewide unemployment rate and August is the seventh consecutive month Tennessee has seen a decline in the statistic.

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$2.5B in annual TN business subsidies, outcomes often unknown

Tennessee state and local governments provide more than $2.5 billion in subsidies such as grants, tax breaks and tax credits to businesses each year, but there’s often little public information provided on whether the taxpayer money is working to produce promised jobs.

That’s the bottom line of reporting by the state’s four largest newspapers  — The Tennessean, The Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News Sentinel and (Chattanooga) Times Free Press — published this weekend.

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New U.S. Census data: West TN population shrinking

If West Tennessee were a state unto itself, it would be shrinking, reports WREG TV of Memphis after a review of recent U.S. Census estimates.

The estimates show that the part of the state west of the Tennessee River, including Memphis and Shelby County, lost nearly 1,200 residents between 2010 and 2016, leaving a total population of just over 1.56 million. Of the 21 counties in the region, 15 experienced declines.

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