By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
The Dade County
Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is barreling full-steam ahead on its
industrial park expansion, currently accepting bids for a broad new entrance to
the new acreage from the existing park.
Right now, the
easiest access to the new area, 200-plus acres of farmland that was once the
country getaway of Chattanooga Mayor P.R. Olgiati, is off Highway 11 North over
the railroad tracks on Morrison Ridge Road, a narrow byway that on the east
side of the tracks dwindles into an old farm road.
employee Peter Cervelli said at the group’s regular October meeting on Friday
that that needs to change. “If you bring visitors, they don’t want to see
sloppy entrances,” he said.
entrance, already cleared and flagged off, starts from the rear of the old
industrial park, winds down the contours and intersects the old farm road.
told the assembled IDA board of directors that signage throughout the areas
needs to be upgraded, and that they might also think about hiring somebody to
take out underbrush in the new land. “The goal is to be able to see all the way
back,” he said.
Executive Chairman Ted Rumley said after the meeting that he agreed with IDA on
the need for a more impressive entrance to the expansion. “It’s like buying a
new automobile,” he said. “The first appearance can be the difference between
making and breaking the deal.”
Rumley said the
county government has been monitoring and helping with the road end of the IDA
expansion project since it is Dade that will eventually maintain and inspect
the park’s roadways. He added that he had met with the contractors bidding on
the work. “These will have 99 percent truck traffic on them, so they’ll be
designed for heavy traffic,” he said.
Also at the
Oct. 18 meeting, IDA Chairman Nathan Wooten asked the board to formalize its
earlier-resolved agreement to offer $350,000 for the remaining 70-odd acres of
the Olgiati property not included in its original 2011 purchase.
no argument about the deal, but County Attorney Robin Rogers, who functions as
the board’s legal advisor, corrected him that the actual number of acres was
Rogers said the
deal was proceeding but that he didn’t think the purchase could be closed by
the end of the month, as had been requested by the seller.
business, Cervelli asked for and received approval of $600 to enroll IDA in the
Georgia German-American Chamber of Commerce. It is no secret that to Dade, as to
surrounding communities, some share of the business that the city’s new
Volkswagen plant has brought to Chattanooga would be villkommen indeed.
reported he’d appeared before the Trenton City Commission the previous Monday
to present IDA’s proposed tax incentives, designed to lure new industry to Dade
with tax forgiveness as well with cheap or free land. The incentives had
already been presented to the Dade County Commission at its own meeting, and
Wooten was to have taken them before the Dade Board of Education on Monday.
Though IDA, a
private/public entity with some governmental powers of its own, is technically
able to grant the tax incentives unilaterally, it is as a matter of cooperation
asking all the affecting taxing agencies for consent. Wooten said neither city
nor county had formally agreed to the package yet, but: “Unofficially, it
doesn’t look like a problem.”
reported that IDA’s Oct. 11 open house had enjoyed a good turnout but that he
hadn’t hooked all the Atlanta officials he’d hoped for and would therefore need
to track them down on their own turf. “I’m going to have to spring for another
lunch,” he said.
He also said
IDA’s new website had not so far been overwhelmed with hits and that he had
begun asking for proposals for site optimization.
ambitions for Dade sound speculative or even wistful to some observers, County
Executive Ted Rumley says not to worry; he, for one, is pretty sure it’s a case
“I wouldn’t be
so fired up,” he said. “I know it’s real. There’s some industries out there
that I feel really want to come to Dade County – or want to come to northwest
Georgia, and we just happen to have 200 acres that no one else has got, that’s
close to the interstate, and that we have water and sewer there.”
IDA meets the
third Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Dade
County Administrative Building.