Vision Hickman Eyes More Funding

While discussion of Centerville’s recent industrial grant success was a high point of last week’s Vision Hickman meeting, the executive director told the board that securing funding for other projects is possible.

“Any site in Hickman County . . . can be a Select Tennessee site,” said Brenda Pfeiffer, including those owned by private concerns as long as ownership agrees to conduct various surveys and provide a topographic map.

Getting a grant -- like the $380,650 awarded to the town for its 49-acre Shipp’s Bend site -- is no simple thing. Mayor Gary Jacobs said the grant work was the final part of a process that has involved submission of 78 files to the state Department of Economic and Community Development. A final decision on inclusion into the selective site program is anticipated, given the grant award.

Jacobs said once the infrastructure for the Shipp’s Bend project is in place -- road and wastewater work is the main focus -- he will begin work on certification for the town’s industrial land at Highway 48 North and Rivers Road.

“It’s so time-consuming,” he said; his work on the Shipp’s Bend property began last summer.

Pfeiffer told the Vision Hickman Board that she has responded to two state requests for information on available properties in the last week, both for the Shipp’s Bend property. One, she said, is a “Fortune 500 manufacturer” that would create about 100 jobs at an average annual salary of $37,000.

Pfeiffer also said the success of a $50,000 grant application to help cover the cost of a Minnie Pearl statue should be known by mid-June. She said the Grinders Switch Foundation project was well developed, allowing a 30-day application period to be met.

Foundation President David Dansby said the application included discussion of an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Ken Burks on country music; hundreds of photos of Minnie, portrayed to nationwide acclaim by Centerville native Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, have been submitted for the film.

“That was a big hit,” said Dansby.

Thirteen of the 22 board members attended the most recent session, held May 16 at the Emergency operations center. In other business, the panel:

-- Unanimously approved a $2,500 membership in the Tennessee Economic Development Partnership Pfeiffer recommended the step, which will provide “inside involvement” and various events and conventions, to speak with job providers.

“I know these people,” said Pfeiffer, a state economic development project manager for eight years.

She said that membership would serve the economic organization here better than “cold-knocking” at various conventions, including an NRA event in Kentucky this month. Jon Sonday, president of Accurate Energetics, said that particular event is geared toward gun industry customers, not industrial prospects.

“It’s a consumer show,” he said.

-- Appointed the two mayors, Shaun Lawson, to the Nominating Committee; one board member will be added to oversee proposals for the 2016-17 slate of officers, which will be elected in July.

-- Unanimously agreed to amend the bylaws to split the single position of secretary-treasurer into two positions. Paul Aydelott handles the duties now.