Hamilton County Seeks To Purchase McDonald Farm For Economic Development

Photo: McDonald Farm 

Photo Credit: Old McDonald Farm / Facebook

Published July 1, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn]-

Hamilton County, TN – In yesterday’s Hamilton County Commission meeting, the Commission heard, on first reading, two resolutions regarding the proposed purchase of McDonald Farms. 

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, “The good news is we’ve finally come to an agreement with the McDonald family on the purchase of the McDonald Farm and basically, we’re asking the commission to enter into negotiations that are necessary to seal the deal, other than just the price.  The price, I don’t know how that got out; It’s 16 million dollars.” 

Resolution 721-17, if approved, will authorize Coppinger to enter and execute a purchase and sale agreement for 2,170 acres from McDonald Farms LLC. 

Coppinger said, “This will be an opportunity for economic development, creating jobs and the same time being environmentally friendly having green spaces there for use.” 

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Due to the property having lowlands and other areas not suitable for development, Coppinger stated that there will be plenty of opportunities to have amenities for residents and the public, such as hiking trails. 

District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks said, “Everyone knows this is in my district and to say that I’m excited about it would be an understatement.” 

“This is an exciting time to be serving on the County Commission, this is an exciting opportunity for Hamilton County,” District 7 Commissioner Sabrina Smedley stated. 

Coppinger also requested that the Commission approve a related resolution (721-16) that would authorize a proposal from Croy Engineering to provide surveying services for the property. 

“I suspect that the taxpayers would want us to have a good survey, spending 16-million of their dollars,” Coppinger stated. 

Croy engineering has already agreed to a 90-day turn around on the survey, once approved. 

However, despite the quick turnaround on surveying, Coppinger said it will be a number of years before the site is ready for any companies or businesses to move in due to a need for increased infrastructure. 

Coppinger stated that the administration plans to have public meetings with the residents of District 1 to get feedback and to keep them informed. 

“I’m sure there’s a lot of angst in the community when the government purchases a property this size.  We’re not just going to go pouring a bunch of concrete slabs.  We’re going to be very sensitive to the community and we’ll get some input from them along the way,” Coppinger said. 

District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey, raised concerns about the potential need for increased sewage capacity with the addition of a new industrial park on the McDonald property. 

Mackey stated that the EPA has expressed that Hamilton County will have need for one, if not two additional sewage plants. 

Coppinger said in response, “At this particular site, we have already been in contact with the city of Dayton.  They did some enhancements to their sewer system.  They are only six miles from where we’re going to be located and they’re willing to handle the wastewater at that particular site now.  And that’s something that would be much more advantageous than for us trying to move it 35 miles down to Moccasin Bend.” 

Mackey expressed that they should not rely on Rhea County to handle Hamilton County’s sewer needs. 

“I keep pushing, not wanting to kick the can down the road about that sewer plant and probably two of them,” Mackey said. 

Addressing misinformation circulating in the public regarding the potential purchase of the McDonald Farm, Commissioner Fairbanks said that one of the first calls he received from a constituent regarding the site was an inquiry asking if there would be a sewage plant on the site. 

Fairbanks stressed that there are no plans to utilize the site in this way. 

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About the Author:


Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative 

Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen and the Crossville Chronicle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

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