Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development officials last week reportedly gave a $1 million grant to the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board.
This, for a 30-acre pad-ready site to attract new companies to come to the area’s Spring Branch Industrial Park.
But how do city, county, and state officials know that companies will, in fact, come to the area after government officials invested this much taxpayer money into the project?
Have any companies committed to come?
Have any companies offered commitments to come that are legally binding?
Better yet, will the benefits of this project exceed the costs to taxpayers?
Several officials involved with the project did not return The Tennessee Star’s requests for comment Monday.
Among the people we contacted were Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks, Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce President Mike Griffin, and several other city and county officials from that area.
ECD officials also did not return our request for comment for more details on the grant that was announced in December as one of ten such awards totaling $3.8 million.
According to last weekend’s Cleveland Banner, state officials delivered the money in person.
“The industrial park, located at Exit 20 just off Interstate 75, consists of 331.6 acres and is subdivided into nine lots. It is expected the site will attract companies that will provide thousands of jobs, as well as generate millions in payroll dollars for the region. In addition, the industrial park’s presence, along with the jobs it will attract, is expected to spur growth of other businesses near Exit 20,” according to The Banner.
“The $1 million grant will be used to complete mass grading of Lot 1, which is estimated to cost up to $2.8 million, ultimately accommodating an up to 900,000- square-foot structure. Currently, two lots at the park are pad-ready, meaning all site development work, including landscaping, stormwater drainage, erosion control and load-bearing specifications have been completed. It is the largest industrial park with site availability in Southeast Tennessee.”
This is not the first time state officials have bestowed the Cleveland/Bradley County area with other types of taxpayer-funded assistance.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s 2014 Pork Report found Tennessee taxpayers shelled out $42.2 million to Cleveland for a swanky airport so corporate business officials would not have to use the Chattanooga airport 30 miles away.
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