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Industrial board talks grants, matching funds

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 7/12/22

The 231 North Business Park Oversight Committee met Tuesday to iron out several financial issues as well as discuss any updates at the industrial park.  

According to Shelbyville City …

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Industrial board talks grants, matching funds

The 231 North Business Park Oversight Committee met Tuesday to iron out several financial issues as well as discuss any updates at the industrial park.  
According to Shelbyville City Treasurer and Interim City Manager Kay Parker, the City was in the middle of using one of their first grants last April for site improvements at the U.S. 231 location. It was a reimbursement grant, meaning they had to pay the contractors or vendors up front before receiving grant money. 
“That account was getting low enough that I would not have been able to pay it up front—even though I knew we were going to get reimbursed by the grant,” Parker said.  
The City has put up $100,000 from its general fund to front the cost and so the account could have enough to pay the contractors.
From a County perspective, Bedford County Financial Director Robert Daniel said, “What we were thinking is when the City gets $100,000 back, whatever that amount is that they pay, we owe half of that.”  
Parker explained, for example, if the account hits $0, that means $100,000 of bills have been paid. Half of those bills ($50,000) would have been the City’s responsibility, since the efforts are split 50/50 between the City and County. The County would then contribute $50,000.  
Councilman Henry Feldhaus said at the Oversight meeting that his concern is losing track of that cash being dwindled down out of the City. 
City attorney Ginger Shofner explained that essentially, the County has not put in a match, so they are operating off City funds. At the time of the meeting, the account had around $88,000, after a $12,000 legal bill was paid. “Technically, you could say the County owes $6,000 on what’s already been taken out. That would be their half,” said Shofner. 
Total budget for the industrial development funds currently stands at $63,842.82. Since the 231 Board has been made independent of the City, they will have to conduct an audit for both the board and the City, according to Parker.  
The City of Shelbyville is also contributing $400,000 as part of a match for a $1 million grant from Tennessee’s Department of Economic & Community Development (TNDEC.) The County will contribute another $400,000. This total $1.8 million will go towards site development, including construction of a sewer system at the industrial site, according to Parker. 
Originally, the total amount was estimated around $1.4 million, according to Parker, but rising costs have nearly doubled the City and County’s necessary contributions.  
Correct property description 
The committee also discussed the different lots of the 231 Industrial Park. The total acreage of the site is around 119, according to Bedford County Economic Director and Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership CEO Shane Hooper.  
The new Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville facility will have 20 acres. Project Turquoise will have 24 acres and Project Cardinal will have the remaining, which is about 75 acres. At the June 28 Bedford County Commission meeting, Greg Vick apologized for not being able to disclose more information about these projects.
The commissioner said, “I have had several questions people posed to me about . . . Project Cardinal, Project Turquoise and where we are. I’ve even had some people go so far as to say this isn’t even a real project,” Vick said. “We have been explicitly informed by ECD, the governor’s office, that there is no communication we can have with them that would jeopardize anything with this deal.”  
“It is very difficult for us to come before a public body and listen to questions that we can’t respond to, knowing we can’t respond. I’m sorry I can’t be more forthcoming,” Vick said.  
County attorney John T. Bobo was asked to comment. He said, “I think we’re 95 percent there. And I believe these guys are anxious to get it done. I believe the principals are about as tired of their lawyers as Mr. Hooper is of his.”  
At Tuesday’s meeting, Hooper said grants have helped make the industrial site more “marketable,” in terms of making it appealing to prospects during site visits. For instance, the construction of the first site pad has made the park more marketable. 
“And that has paid off above and beyond,” said Hooper. “We have the property that we’re looking at for Project Cardinal and for Project Turquoise, which both have moved forward at a great pace. And I’m going to tell you right now, it has a lot to do with a part in being more marketable . . . .”   
Hooper also pointed out that Bedford County participated in the TTNECD Property Evaluation Program (PEP) for the first time in 2021. Only four counties in the state can participate in the program each year. That year it was Bedford, Greene, Hamilton and Hardin. The program evaluates potential industrial properties, advising counties on industrial site improvements and where investments may be most beneficial, according to the State’s official website.  
“So, there were a lot of firsts that were accomplished over the last 12 months in the industrial park,” said Hooper.  
The next 231 Industrial Park Board meeting is set for noon Oct. 4 in the 2nd floor conference room in Bedford County Annex.