Log in Subscribe

City council gets development update

By MARK MCGEE - mmcgee@t-g.com
Posted 5/9/23

The overall development of Shelbyville and Bedford County is a win-win situation for everybody.

Members of the Shelbyville City Council heard about the work of the Shelbyville-Bedford …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

City council gets development update


The overall development of Shelbyville and Bedford County is a win-win situation for everybody.

Members of the Shelbyville City Council heard about the work of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership from Gary Fayard, a member of the board of directors. The partnership is asking for $100,000 to support their continuing efforts.

“The city and country have been funding us $100,000 a year for the past three years and the county has been matching it,” Fayard said. “Our budget is right about $400,000 a year.

“In a true public-private partnership is for the public, the city, and the county, to fund half of the budget and we would raise the other $200,000 privately.”

Fayard outlined to the council members the benefits the city receives from its investment.

“There is direct capital improvement for the city and county in new industry and grants of $124 million for the past three years,” Fayard said. “Granted, $117 million of that is Duksan (Electera America), the battery plant.

“We applied and got a $6 million grant from the state which allows the city to upgrade the pumping station. Infrastructure is a major obstacle. We also received a $1 million site development grant for the industrial park. We have been doing really well in getting investment into the city and county.”

Fayard informed the council the partnership is talking with a number of companies.

“Some of that is industrial and some of it is more retail,” Fayard said. “Something that is telling is, we have had 18 meetings in the last six months with developers.

“Shelbyville is on the map. We are going to grow one way or the other, but do we grow the way we want to grow or not?”

Fayard added that attracting new industries and businesses is part of the job of the partnership, but at the same time, it is important for Shelbyville and Bedford County to retain what is already here.

“We have gone out and met with every major employer in the county,” Fayard said. “We talked to them about what their needs are.”

One of the most important needs, especially if the employer is seeking workers right out of high school, is to be certain those students have the correct skills. Fayard points to the cooperation from the Bedford County Schools leaders and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT).

“We have been able to get employers together with TCAT and the county school system to develop or change programs to exactly what our local employers need,” Fayard said. “I think that has been great.

“We have run workshops on job readiness and an eighth-grade career fair. We had a job fair at Central High School. We have had workshops with seniors in high school on interviewing skills. We are making sure students are prepared when they get out of school especially if they are going straight to work.”

Fayard admitted the partnership is not always successful. He cites the loss of National Pen this year as an example.

“We helped coordinate all of the available resources – city, county, and state – and contacted all of our local companies,” Fayard said. “We have actually been able to place 81 percent of the dislocated workers from National Pen. That was really important.”

Fayard emphasized the partnership has a three-prong attack.

“We want to bring new economic growth, make sure we keep what we’ve got, and make sure our school system and TCAT are working together to make sure we are getting students prepared.”

Also making a grant request was Pam Birtcil, executive director of Bedford Builds Habitat for Humanity. She has requested $10,000 to help with the purchase of land in order to build another home. She emphasized the increased price of real estate in the county.

The regular meeting of the Shelbyville City Council is Thursday night, May 11, at 6 at the Shelbyville Recreation Center.