By MARK MCGEE
The purchase of “Project Parcel 26” by Nearest Green Distillery closes the books on the Shelbyville -Bedford County 231 North Commerce Business Park.
“The conveyance of the remaining acreage of the Business Park to Nearest Green Distillery means the Business Park has now concluded its mission,” Greg Vick, county commissioner, and chair of the Shelbyville-Bedford County 231 North Commerce Business Park said. “The Board of Directors was tasked with the responsibility of developing the park with the emphasis on delivering new employment opportunities, new private sector capital, and increasing local tax revenues. The Business Park Board of Directors has accomplished that goal.”
Joining Vick on the board are Robert Daniel, Director of Finance, City Manager Scott Collins, City Council Member William Christie, and Shane Hooper, President/CEO of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, who replaced Allen Pitner after his death.
The Business Park Board was created by an interlocal agreement between Bedford County and the City of Shelbyville on March 12, 2015. Vick has been a member of board since 2018 and has served three terms as chair.
When the Business Park was created there were three objectives outlined in the Interlocal Agreement:
*Provide additional employment opportunities for the residents of Shelbyville and Bedford County
*Promote new private sector capital investments
*Increase local tax revenue opportunities
The City, County, and TVA pledged an initial $1,550,000 investment into the project. Vick points out the City and County have subsequently invested an additional $2 million to acquire 20 acres of prime road front property which was folded into the Business Park.
“Over the past five years in which I have been a member of the board we have achieved unparalleled success,” Vick said. “We received designation status as a `Tennessee Select Site’ by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and have received numerous grants for water, sewer, and site development from the ECD and TVA.
“The board created a first-class Business Park and an operation procedure model which is being used by the state as an example of how local communities, with the help and assistance of a professional business entity, the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, can compete for higher paying, in demand development projects.”
Vick gives credit to the Partnership for enhancing the growth of the county.
“The Partnership, through the direction of Mr. Hooper, his staff and his Board of Directors, have infused focus, direction, and energy in building a brand and reputation that places Bedford County in the top tier of communities the State of Tennessee can rely upon to deliver results. Through the efforts of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, Bedford County taxpayers have received over a quarter of one billion dollars in new development within the business park.”
Hooper commended both the 231 North Commerce Business Park Board of Directors as well as County Mayor Chad Graham and the county commission for their assistance as Nearest Green Distillery joins Duksan Electra and the Bedford County Higher Education Center as part of the park’s development.
“Communities must work together to accomplish economic development of this scale,” Hooper said. “Mayor Chad Graham and the County Commission are to be applauded and commended for their continued support of the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership and vision for job creation. With assistance from TVA, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA), we are poised to reap significant benefits for Shelbyville and Bedford County.
“We should also appreciate and thank the founding leaders of the industrial park for their selfless acts of courage, community focus, and cooperative mindset. Because of them and Mayor Graham’s leadership we are creating jobs for the future.”
Vick added that in January the Business Park Board will meet for the final time and will vote to sunset their operations.
“The citizens of Shelbyville and Bedford County need to know this critical investment, made by both the city and the county, has now netted our community over $247 million dollars in new investments and will generate over a billion dollars in returns over the next several years.”