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previous TDC bumbles, stumbles and fumbles. They don't have a great track record!
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TDC BUMBLES, STUMBLES AND FUMBLES
Here's the top reasons why TDC is on the wrong track developing more industrial parks in Knox County and may have outlived it's usefulness:
- TOO MANY PARKS - TDC's web site states that they have developed over 2,000 acres of business parks in Knox County. Enough already, especially since none of the parks are full and a lot of the acreage hasn't been sold. Many of these kinds of jobs have moved overseas and aren't likely to come back, so there is much less demand for business parks. TDC is an organization whose mission has become extinct.
- HARDIN SITE EMPTY - Hardin Valley Business Park, opening next year with 95 acres, does not have any tenants. TDC says we need more land for industrial development in Knox County because we're "running out of land," but the Knoxville Chamber Partnership's web site shows over 700 acres of land and more than a dozen industrial buildings already in their inventory (click their links to see available land, industrial buildings and office space).
- FAILED EASTBRIDGE SITE - The failed Eastbridge Business Park, an 800 acre site, has been unable to attract much interest by companies and has only a few tenants. The park has been plagued with flooding, erosion and stormwater problems since its inception, costing millions and requiring intervention by TDEC, business park tenants, the State of TN and Knox County to try to fix the problems, which included "flash flooding" at the park entrance. The primary tenant that was recruited by TDC for Eastbridge Business Park, Daiken Drivetrain Components Corporation, is among the Top 10 air polluters in Knox County. Daiken releases large quantities of Dichloromethane into the air, a known carcinogen.
- FAILED STERCHI PARK - The failed Sterchi Business Park, approx. 155 acres of land that was purchased by TDC in 2000 for an industrial park, was recently handed over to Knox County Parks and Recreation because of the inherent unsuitability of the site, including the hilly terrain and lack of roads and other infrastructure to support an industrial park. The site was purchased in April of 2000 for $3.6 million and was unsuccessfully marketed by TDC for five years before they gave the land to Knox County Parks and Recreation for a community recreational park.
- HT HACKNEY LEAVES - Ritta area residents have long taken the heat for H.T. Hackney leaving Knox County and moving to Roane County because the company wanted to relocate to an unsuitable agricultural greenfield property located on a two-lane curvy road in a residential area, and area residents successfully fought the rezoning and development. Instead of helping to find a suitable location for H.T. Hackney inside of Knox County, TDC stood by and finger-pointed at residents trying to protect their homes, property values and quality of life.
- FARMERS MARKET FIASCO - TDC, in concert with the Knox County Industrial Development Board, took over the Farmers Market property, a failed project by a previous administration, and mismanaged the entire process of redevelopment. They eventually sold a large part of the property to Target, who turned around and re-sold half of the property for what they paid for all of it, effectively getting their land for free. TDC left millions of dollars on the table during this contentious, expensive RFP process, with allegations of insider deals and mismanagement running throughout the process.
- COSTER SHOP DISASTER - The former Coster Shop (I-275 Business Park) fiasco began when TDC's subcontractors illegally dug up and removed huge amounts of toxic waste from this site and dumped it into sinkholes in the Burnette Creek area, ruining the water supply and costing taxpayers millions of dollars in cleanup costs, lawsuits and settlements. Yet they want us to trust them with our water supply, knowing that we have a delicate ecosystem to begin with.
- GREEN SPACE WASTE - According to a study by the Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission, Knox County will run out of developable land within 10 years if we develop the same way in the next 10 years as we did the last 10 years. Do we really need to use the scarce land resource to create more industrial sites instead of brown and grayfield redevelopment and techniques to attract clean, non-industrial businesses to Knoxville? Why hasn't there been a recent study of the brownfield and grayfield inventory along Central Ave. and other abandoned manufacturing areas that certainly need revitalization? These properties already have the sewer, water and electric infrastructure in place, and the surrounding urban communities to support them. Turning undeveloped agricultural land into industrial sites is a very short-sighted policy, and another example of TDC's general cluelessness.
- WE CAN'T BREATHE ALREADY - Air and water quality issues, quality of life issues. We already have serious air quality issues and all the polluting industry we can handle, with the recruitment of Sea Ray Boats (by far Knox County's worst air polluter, with over 600,000 pounds of Styrene pumped into the air every year - the next largest air polluter, American Safety Razor, emits approx. 80,000 pounds of air pollution). Sea Ray is one of Knox County's largest employers and we're glad they're here, but our air quality is already dire, and enough is enough.
- CITIZEN UNFRIENDLY - TDC is arrogant and narrow-minded, unwilling to listen to the community. A different approach to economic development would be to participate WITH the community in finding economic development opportunities that would be more suited to their community. Great ideas could come from involving the community instead of the paternalistic approach from someone outside of the community basically telling us, "This is what we're going to do whether or not you like it, whether or not it's the right thing to do, because we're the Development Corporation and we know better than you."
Questions? Contact us at (865) 540-1455 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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to see the list of reasons why putting an industrial site on this land is a TERRIBLE IDEA.
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