By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
anywhere else? Dade has it all.”
Such was the
theme of the new promotional video unveiled Friday at the Dade Industrial
Development Authority’s regular September meeting. Peter Cervelli, IDA’s
“industrial development developer” – i.e., sole employee and general factotum –
offered the IDA board of directors a preview screening and had producer Chuck
Peters on hand to answer questions.
which is meant to become part of IDA’s website, www.developingdadega.com,
features interviews with local businesspeople, schoolteachers and government
officials as well as still photographs of the county’s natural beauty and
tourist draws. Included are views of Cloudland Canyon State Park and a local
golf course, plus action shots of recreation high and low – hang glider pilots
flying at Lookout Mountain Flight Park and cavers crawling from the earth in
Dade’s extensive cave system.
In addition to
the outdoor fun and family-friendly elements, the video pitches Dade as a good
place to run a business: Taxes are low, cost of living ditto, government
regulations minimal, and the workforce ready, willing and able, it tells the
the board to consider the video and approve it for inclusion on the website. He
said a longer version will be available soon at the Dade County Chamber of
The video will
also be on tap at an open house IDA is hosting on Oct. 11, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
in the Commission Room of the Dade Administrative building. Cervelli told the
board he had issued invitations to the do across the region, to Georgia Power
and other utilities, the Joint Development Authority, the Tennessee Valley
Authority and numerous other regional concerns. Cervelli asked for and was
given approval to spend IDA funds to provision the function.
asked board members to consider spending some money on optimization for IDA’s
website, making it more prominent in cyberspace so that it pops up readily in web
searches. “I don’t think we’re getting bang for our buck yet,” he said.
He said this
wouldn’t be an ongoing expense, assuring them: “I just want a one-time shot to
jigger this and see if we can get better hits.”
of Dade that IDA wishes to show off at the Oct. 11 fete is its 200-plus-acre
expansion of the county’s existing industrial park, and the board discussed
challenges on that front. “When you go
down to the new site, it’s kind of hard to envision what’s going to be what,”
said IDA Chairman Nathan Wooten, and Cervelli pointed out the land as it stands
is knee-deep in hay.
industrial park expansion is the old Olgiati farm that IDA purchased in 2011
just north of the existing facility. IDA last month made a $350,000 offer to buy
the remaining 70-odd acres of the property – once the country getaway of a
mayor of Chattanooga – and was accepted. The deal is contingent on the closing
of a bond issue IDA undertook in conjunction with the Dade County government.
Closing on that
issuance, in which the county will borrow $1.5 million in emergency road repair
funds and IDA will borrow $1 million to develop the industrial park expansion,
is scheduled for Oct. 10. In that regard, Cervelli told board members that now
the money’s on its way, it’s time to decide what to do with it. “We need to
make a plan of how we’re going to spend this money,” he said.
study is required, said Cervelli, among other things. Nathan Wooten brought up
the matter of railway access. He had met with an existing company at the
industrial park, he said, and learned of problems in that regard. Currently, he
said, the existing rail spur only allows for three or four cars at a time and
deliveries can only be made from trains going north. “If we want to recruit
industry that needs rail-friendly service, we’re not really there,” he
Executive Ted Rumley had recently been dealing with rail officials, Cervelli
told him. “We’ve got an ongoing dialogue with the rail company now,” he said.
said Georgia Power representatives were due to assess the expansion next month
and advise on how it should be laid out from a utility perspective. “Putting
down buildings willy-nilly may not be the way,” he said.
updated the board about another planned expansion important to Dade County:
Major employer Accellent, which makes components for medical devices, and which
had recently been renovating an existing building to stretch into, was now
talking about new construction, he said.
looking for us to build, and they still want to rent?” asked Wooten.
Cervelli, either from IDA or from some other entity; but he needed to sit down
with the company and discuss its needs. “We just need more face time with
them,” he said.
IDA meets at 3
p.m. on the third Friday of every month in the Commission Room of the Dade
Administrative Building. Its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18.