The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development launched a series of meetings this week with West Tennessee county and city mayors and other important stakeholders and assistance providers to discuss the issues involved in the local response to Ford’s record-setting announcement of a huge automotive plant at the West Tennessee Megasite.
According to Brooxie Carlton, Assistant Commissioner for Rural Development, the meeting this Wednesday was just the first in a series of meetings planned to convene local and state leaders to discuss matters such as water and wastewater infrastructure needs, long-range planning, educational needs, transportation challenges and other critical topics.
While the Blue Oval City project in Haywood County has the potential to transform the economy of much of West Tennessee, the growth it brings will also place a tremendous strain on community resources as cities and counties gear up to accommodate not only Ford and S.K. Innovation, but also hundreds of potential suppliers. At this first session, mayors heard from Greg Young, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Environment at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Young talked through basics of water infrastructure planning and made some general recommendations on how cities and counties need to approach addressing water and sewer infrastructure needs for the region.
Shortly after this Zoom meeting session concluded, Mark Herbison of HTL Advantage, the economic development agency serving Haywood, Tipton and Lauderdale Counties, presented to the House Education Instruction Committee about Blue Oval City at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville. That committee is chaired by Rep. Debra Moody, who represents Tipton County. You may remember that Herbison presented to TCSA members at the Peabody last November, shortly after the project was announced.
Mr. Herbison talked about the tremendous amount of population growth expected to hit this region of West Tennessee, based on the impact of similar projects in Tennessee and elsewhere in the county. But Herbison stressed that we really have never seen a project like this one before. One of the points he highlighted to the Education Committee was the fact there are large areas of Western Haywood County and Eastern Tipton County that currently do not have a single K-12 school located in the region. That is an area where high growth of residential development is expected. Herbison reported that the counties he serves have already been contacted by many developers from all across the country who are expressing interest in building large subdivisions.
A sitemap of Blue Oval City, the new Ford manufacturer development park in Haywood County, TN. (Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Economic and Community Development)