The Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) wants to help prepare several communities for potential industry.
Executive Director Mark Farley said several locations across the region have industrial sites available but few are actually prepared for site visits.
“We want to reach out to our seven or eight communities that have industrial products that are ready to sell and ready to market right now to make sure they get over that hump,” Farley said. “We want to be site-ready so when a prospect comes along, we can show to them and to the state that we’re ready to land them and we’re ready to put them to work here in our community.”
Clay, Cumberland, Dekalb, Fentress, Macon, Smith, and Warren Counties were listed as having industrial property immediately ready.
Farley said the agency will look to utilize Rebecca Smith, who is currently working with the UCDD under contract, to help those communities using her background in economic and community development.
“She has a wealth of knowledge over a lot of the industries that have located here in the past, knows and understands what [happens] when you’re recruiting industries,” Farley said. “While I have her on contract, I want to use her for every bit of assistance we can get out of that.”
Farley said the agency simply wants to continue and expand the economic growth seen over the last few years.
“We’ve come quite a bit of way over the last four or five years. Sometimes it takes a little extra push to get over that hurdle,” Farley said. “We want to get over that hurdle. Obviously, Putnam County has seen some great growth with several industries relocating. We want to make sure the Smith Counties, the Cumberland Counties, the Warren Counties are seeing that same growth.”
Farley described the process during the UCDD’s executive board meeting Wednesday. The agency will analyze each community’s industrial development bylaws, help compile assessment teams, and conduct mock site visits to prepare each community for potential investors.