Highlands Economic officials said they are optimistic about the region’s industrial prospects after a recent visit from state development officials.
President and CEO Amy New said they try to bring in industrial partners and project managers annually to the area. The recent visit included representatives from the state department of Economic and Community Development and TVA. New said familiarity with the Upper Cumberland allows state officials to best match potential businesses.
“Cookeville is so uniquely set up and the Upper Cumberland in general, the four counties of the Highlands, where we have sites, we have a workforce, and we’re very blessed with the infrastructure to be able to support a lot of the projects that are coming through today,” New said. “So they need to be very familiar with the area.”
New said they brought partners to the Mackie Industrial Site and the Lemon-Farris Industrial site, both off Highway 111. She said they also shared specs on the Highlands Business Park.
New said the Upper Cumberland now gets to be pickier about which industries come to the area. She said because the average income is about $10,000 behind the median household income, they do not want to take any project.
“We’re going to make sure that if we do bring in a project, it’s going to be a high-wage, high-paying, high-quality job,” New said. “Because that’s all we want to recruit to this area because that’s what our people need: to have high-paying jobs.”