Improving the Industrial Park
September 8, 2021
By Shane Hooper. Photography by James Jordan
The Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership is tasked with economic and community development. A component of the economic development mission includes industrial recruitment for the Shelbyville and Bedford Industrial Park. Shelbyville and Bedford County jointly support an industrial park in the county’s northwest corner. The park’s general oversight and operations fall under a five-member appointed board of directors composed of city and county representatives.
Successful industrial recruitment requires the completion of site improvements known to foster growth within an industrial park. The Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership and 231 Board work together to facilitate the best circumstances for success in the park. The list of stakeholders interested in the success of the park at the state and local level include; the City of Shelbyville, County of Bedford, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TDECD), Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Authority (MTIDA), South Central Development District (SCDD), Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership (SBP) and others. The Bedford County Fire Department, Tax Assessor’s Office, Register of Deeds, and Bedford County Trustee’s Office are also on the list offering appropriate support.
Site Development Grants from TDECD with a matching portion from the city and county helped the site’s marketability this spring and summer. The Partnership saw the need for funding to continue cleaning up and enhancing the industrial park property, recognizing that clearing the site makes for better visibility for line of sight viewing during prospect visits. Funding this spring paid for vegetation and fence row clearing, road viewing extensions, and the start of a building foundation, known as a pad. A pad is a precursor to a speculative building. Most successful communities in our geographic area already have speculative buildings. One of the communities widely regarded as successful is on its seventh speculative building.
When a company shows interest in an industrial park, the visitors are commonly referred to as prospects. Site visits are an opportunity for the community to present its’ best possible case for the prospective visitors to locate here. The community focus during a site visit is to show that all the expected improvements have been invested in the park. Funds from federal, state, and local stakeholders allow for improvements to the park to show well and function well in the end.
Nothing guarantees success in recruitment, but there is a checklist of items for best practices to reach success. The 231 Board of Directors and the Partnership are focused on achieving items on the best practices list with the guidance of our stakeholders.
The immediate plan is to continue to engage our stakeholders and partners to build a competitive and winning industrial park. Job growth within a community is key to economic success. Good paying jobs attract people with the ability to give back to the community and contribute to future success. The state of Tennessee and specifically middle Tennessee, is growing economically and through the population exponentially. The intent is to manage the growth to produce a better Bedford in quality of life and place for our citizens and visitors alike.