EDC continuing work on plan

Jan. 13, 2013 @ 07:08 AM

The Rutherford County Economic Development Commission (EDC) is continuing its work towards developing its target market analysis study.

Recently, the EDC contracted with Greenfield Development, a location consultant, to examine areas of the county for future economic development.

EDC Executive Director Matt Blackwell said that Greenfield has already conducted a preliminary tour of the county and looked at county-owned sites as well as other areas of the county.

"We have been able to tour a couple of facilities and look at a lot of things so far," Blackwell said.

The study is expected to include the creation of a county asset map of potential building sites, a matrix of the pros and cons of those sites and a review of the county's current target industry. The county expects the cost for the study to range between $55,000 and $58,000. Blackwell said that the county has received a $3,000 donation from a "utility provider" in Rutherford County with another provider pledging in-kind services for the study.

Blackwell said that the next step in the process will be another tour of the county as well as interviews with businesses and individuals to assess needs in Rutherford County.

"They have identified some stakeholders they want to interview such as the college, hospital and industrial leaders and utility providers," Blackwell said.

In addition to looking at areas that the county currently owns, Greenfield also looked at other areas in the county that have the potential for future development, Blackwell said.

One example of a potential area is the interchange of US 221 and US 74.

"They are going to examine those kinds of areas and say that it could have development potentials, but also look and see if there are some improvements that would need to be made to make them so," Blackwell said.

While Blackwell did not give a timeframe for the completion of the target market analysis, he said that now is a good time to have the study done.

"If we don't start planning and positioning ourselves today, we will always be behind the 8-ball," Blackwell said. "If you are prepared ahead of time, you can be better positioned in recruiting efforts.

"We can build a plan to help our infrastructure and marketing for the county and that is what this can really do for us."