ROGERSVILLE — International industrial site assessor KPMG has given a 120 acre tract of vacant property at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park a positive review, which should increase the odds of acquiring grant funding for needed site prep.
The recent KPMG study was paid for by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and presented to the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board Thursday.
The report identifies deficiencies that the IDB is already addresssing such as a sewer line that needs to be relocated, and a ditch on the property that needs to be filled in.
But, the KPMG study also states, "Once developed the site will offer a unique availability of power and acreage in the Northeast Tennessee market."
The KPMG study further states, "Local economic developer and team have a firm understanding of the development obstacles, and seem well aligned on the necessary actions to put the site in a marketable position."
IDB chairman Larry Elkins noted that the KPMG recommendation carries a lot of weight.
"You've got a copy of their overall project assessment, and it's very good," Elkins told his board. "When you're talking to a client, or proposed industry to look at this, especially a foreign entity that might be looking at it, KPMG is world wide and what they say goes a long way. That little piece of information is invaluable to marketing this piece of property."
IDB coordinator Rebecca Baker mapped out the schedule of site development tasks that must be completed before the 120 acres can be considered a viable marketable industrial location.
A preliminary engineering report (PER) will be conducted by Mattern and Craig Engineering and Surveying, and paid for by the Phipps Bend Joint Venture.
Secondly, Baker said she has already applied for a $100,000 Select Tennessee Site Development Grant to perform a "Due Diligence" study on that 120 acre tract which must be completed before any other grants or work can take place.
The Due Diligence study identifies potential hindrances to development such as archaeological discoveries, endangered species, or environmental issues.
A 10 percent local match would be required for the Due Diligence grant, which will be paid by the Phipps Bend Joint Venture Committee.
When the Due Diligence study is completed sometime next year the IDB will be eligible to apply for another grant up to $1 million to relocate a Church Hill sewer line that runs through the middle of the 120 acre tract, as well as filling in a ditch on the property.
"This would really put us in a situation for a lot of large projects that need (120) acres," Elkins said. "We could put together about (120) acres on this site but we've got to get these improvements done. We're also very excited that basically all of the monies to prepare the site for sale is going to be taken care of by either the state or the federal government."
At the same time the IDB is working on acquiring grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority to address problems with the water system.
Those grants would cover the cost for the Surgoinsville Utility District to make repairs to its water tank at Phipps Bend, as well as install water line shut off valves throughout the industrial park.
The valves are needed so that if there's a leak, it can be isolated and repaired without forcing a water service interruption to every plant in the park, which is exactly what happened earlier this year.
The overall cost for engineering and site development, plus the sewer line and ditch removal, and the water tank and valve corrections are projected to be around $2 million.