EDC highlights Commission meeting

Aug. 03, 2014 @ 12:16 PM

After approving $650,000 of county general fund money towards the development of the Gateway West Commerce Park on Daniel Road, Rutherford County Commissioners will hear about how the property will be marketed during its August meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

County Economic Development Director Matt Blackwell will present an update on site development and the proposed marketing strategy to bring new businesses to the park.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the county,” Blackwell said. “To take a piece of property and create an incubator for new jobs and industry is a great thing.”

He said the marketing will go above and beyond traditional strategies.

“We are going to be simultaneously, with the developer, building a marketing strategy and we have already created a dedicated site brochure and website for that property,” Blackwell said. “We will, in the coming months, be doing an email blast to developers, corporate headquarters and the like to develop interest in the property.”

In addition to developing materials, Blackwell said he plans to travel to regional trade shows in an attempt to further market the property to prospective industry.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive marketing plan,” Blackwell said. “It’s not just putting together a few ads, it is more in-depth.”

Commissioners voted to spend $650,000 of one-time general fund money to develop the property adjacent to Isothermal Community College. Monday, commissioners will approve a contract for engineering services at Gateway West.

Commissioners will also consider creating a non-profit organization that can accept grant funding and contributions for economic development.

Blackwell said creating the organization won’t change the structure of the Economic Development Commission (EDC) board.

“The current structure will be the same and the EDC board will be used for policy,” Blackwell said. “The non-profit would be a mechanism that would accept grant funds and tax-deductible contributions that could further our efforts.”

One example of how the non-profit could be utilized references $200,000 the county received from the Golden Leaf Foundation to purchase a piece of equipment that will be leased by Trelleborg Coated Systems. Trelleborg will make lease payments back to the county which must, in turn, use those funds for economic development purposes.

Blackwell said the non-profit organization can keep the money from the lease payments Trelleborg makes to the county.

“We have to show how those funds were used for economic development purposes,” Blackwell said. “They can be used for an incentive or even the purchase of another piece of equipment and it has to be authorized by Golden Leaf.

“There are restrictions but we do have quite a few options.”

In other business, commissioners will:

• consider the reappointment of Mary Sandra Costner to the Library Board;

• consider an appointment from Commission Chairman Bill Eckler to the Economic Development Commission board;

• receive an update on the relocation of the Rutherford County Board of Elections office;

• consider a resolution awarding a service revolver to Rutherford County Sheriff’s detective Roland Rodriguez, Jr.;

• receive an update on transportation issues and on the county’s transportation goals.