Photo: Chattanooga / Hamilton County Business Development Center
Photo Credit: Lawrence G. Miller / CC
Published July 9, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Hamilton County, TN – On Wednesday, the Hamilton County Commission voted unanimously to approve the purchase of McDonald Farms at a price of 16 Million dollars for 2,170 acres to be used mainly as a manufacturing hub.
The commissioners celebrated the potential economic growth the purchase may provide but the rapid economic expansion in the county brought about concerns for increased infrastructure.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger tweeted, “It’s a great day in county government with the authorization to purchase the McDonald Farm, the passing of the vocational school trade school resolution and the jobs that are going to be created from the pilot with Puregraphite. This is an exciting day for our county’s future!”
District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin said, “This is a legacy day…this is a great day in Hamilton County for our future and where we’re headed.”
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District 6 Commissioner David Sharpe was the first to bring up the need for infrastructure to support all the new development.
“It’s imperative that with all this work we’re doing to increase employment opportunities and higher wages, living wages for people in Hamilton County that we capitalize upon that by creating a system of development that will allow us to build more homes so these people can build houses in Hamilton County, afford to live here and infrastructure in place to support that housing,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe expressed that with all the new businesses and jobs coming into Hamilton County that it has been difficult to support the development with affordable housing.
“We’ve got to be able to be able to build more homes here at a cost-point that people can afford to buy them and want to live in Hamilton County…It’s something that paramount in order for us to continue to thrive,” Sharpe said.
District 7 Commissioner Sabrina Smedley said, “The housing market and all the development going on in District 7 has caused significant traffic. I do think the community is at a point where they rightfully have a right to be concerned and complain… I would ask my fellow commissioners, the mayor and everyone to please support me in my District and help me push forward with critical infrastructure needs.”
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger stated that the increase in development has been booming in specific areas of the county and the creation of roads has not kept up with the increased demand.
Coppinger said, “the only piece really missing in the infrastructure is the roads and unfortunately it takes a long time to build roads, you have to buy right-of-ways and things of that nature.”
Coppinger stated that just in Hamilton County alone, TDOT currently has over $300 million in projects that have already been led.
“The state has been helpful. It’s just the area is growing so quickly,” Coppinger said.
District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey brought up the need for increased sewer capacity to support the new development.
“The roads are coming but where are the sewers?,” Mackey asked.
Last week, Coppinger stated that it will be a number of years before the McDonald Farm site is ready for any companies or businesses to move in due to the need for increased infrastructure.
Regarding sewer infrastructure for the McDonald Farm site Coppinger stated that Hamilton County will contract with the city of Dayton to handle the needs for an unspecified amount of time.
“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,” Coppinger said.
District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks again stressed at the Wednesday meeting that there are no plans to utilize the McDonald Farm site as a sewage plant.
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