Plans for the Spring Branch Industrial Park were also shared with the Rotarians.
Research of many aspects of the land were completed long before any construction was to begin, he reflected. This included environmental, historical and archeological findings on the site. The future industrial park site includes wetlands. Berry said these areas will be protected during the build. Berry said one of the wetlands is the “prettiest” one he has seen in this area.
“We essentially, as an industrial board, spent a year and $126,000 with consultants to look at virtually every aspect of this site’s development, including cultural resources and historical preservation,” Berry said.
The research found there were no archaeological findings on the site and the structures did not qualify for the national historic registry.
“The word that came back from the geologist was that this was the best site we have analyzed in Bradley County for its intended use,” Berry said.
This information will be necessary when applying for funding for the site. Berry said there are plans to apply for federal funding.
Berry said the main waterways on the site will serve as boundary lines for how the land will be divided.
Working with current property owners is another major aspect of economic development. Berry said in the past this process was simpler. Today, Berry works with property owners well in advance. He said as the county grows, precertified industrial sites will be needed. Berry is working with a family to have members be a part of a state program that offers funding and support to become a certified industrial site.
Berry reassured those present that Wacker Polysilicon North America construction is still moving forward, simply at a slower pace. Berry said the company needs to expand production in the United States to meet future demands.
“They have invested half of their total planned investment,” Berry said.
Berry said he hopes Wacker’s experience in Bradley County will encourage the company to bring other production lines to the area.
“Those that are here are the most important businesses,” Berry said. “I hope we will continue to grow and expand them as we move forward.”
An update on the Whirlpool site was also given. Berry said the final phase was nearing completion.
“This will complete all of [the company’s] current committed phases to this community,” Berry said.
The facility will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified manufacturing facility in the county.
Partnerships are important in securing interest in future industrial sites. Berry said his department is currently working with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to market areas in Bradley County to Volkswagen suppliers.
Berry said he had also given the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce details on the industrial park to increase potential interest.
Until the necessary road improvements are made, Berry said the Chamber of Commerce will continue to market existing sites. Berry said these locations are near existing industrial sites.
Pieces of land of various sizes offer many opportunities, he said.