SEIVERVILLE (WATE) – Sevier County leaders say they're running out of land for certain kinds of businesses and they're trying to acquire more. But the lack of plots for industrial parks means some companies, and the jobs they offer, may be going elsewhere.
There are four industrial parks in Sevier County and all but one of them are full. The lack of available property has meant some companies, like a fertilizer manufacturer, have taken their business elsewhere. But the county says they are working to ensure they don't lose any other opportunities.
"We haven't lost out, but we haven't been able to submit on a project. Industries look for certain kinds of properties, certain locations and since we only have about five acres, that will only accommodate about a 30,000 sq ft facility," explained Allen Newton, the executive director for Sevier County Economic Development Council.
The county hopes to change that by purchasing 115 acres off Snyder Road near Smokies Park.
"It's very well located; it's right off the interstate. It's what most counties look for and what industries are looking for with easy access to the interstates," Newton explained about the property.
Billy Evans, an engineer with Southern Design Group, works for Kenneth Whaley, the property's owner. He said the land is perfect for what the county is looking for.
"We're probably 2,500 feet from the 407 exit of I-40," Evans explained.
The county has been successful in bringing in large companies, like KaTom and Lisega, but say now they need to act fast to ensure they keep attracting jobs to the area.
"It's very important that we go through this process here in Sevier County and try to identify the very best piece of property we can get to meet the needs of the industries looking to come to the state," said Newton.
The property's owner, Kenneth Whaley, said the piece of land is cleared and ready to go, and has been for nearly three years. But the county says they're still evaluating how to fit the purchase in their budget.
"We want make sure we have investigated it fully to know what our costs are, so when we pull the trigger on a piece of property, we're not surprised by the costs of the property," Newton said.
Neither Newton nor Whaley would disclose how much the property might sell for, but Newton said a bond issue would be used to pay for the land.
The Economic Development Council says they don't have a timeline in place, but plan to bring up the purchase at September's county commission meeting.