SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - After being delayed more than five years, Sevierville leaders approved the Dumplin Creek development project this week.
The piece of land off Interstate 40 at exit 407 was supposed to be home to a major shopping center by 2009, but plans stopped when the economy took a hit.
The Sevierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted four to zero Monday night to help finance a new road that will run through the development.
Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley told 6 News there won't be any new taxes for the $8 million road. State grants will pay for half, and the city will pay for the other $4 million. Any amount over the $8 million will be paid for by the developer, Neyland Land Associates.
The proposed development is being compared to a smaller version of Knoxville's Turkey Creek. Atchley says the city has never before helped finance a road project specifically for a developer.
"Any development that has ever come in has paid 100 percent of the cost. In this day in time and this economy, sometimes you have to do things different," Atchley said.
The road will connect Highway 66 to Bryan Road. The mayor says out of the 36 million cars that drive by each year, only about 12 million get off exit 407. He's hoping developing this land will change that.
"I think you're going to see a lot of other developers near there and on Highway 66 really pull the trigger. You're going to see a lot of development take place, which brings in the sales tax dollars which is what pays the bills around here," Atchley said.
The city will collect $500,000 in the first three years after the road is built, either through sales tax revenues or the developer. The company's president, Joe Fielden Jr., says there will likely be a mix of big box stores and smaller shops built.
"It's got great interstate visibility and we think it's a really good piece of real estate," Fielden said.
Neyland Land Associates will donate the estimated $1.8 million road right of way to the city. Atchley says he's hoping this new road will eventually help bring in another exit off Interstate 40, which he says would ease congestion in that area.
There are no formal commitments from retailers yet, but Fielden expects this to change in the spring once they finalize the purchase of the property from the bank.