KEDB approves funds for downtown facade projects

Rick Wagner • Apr 4, 2007 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT - Facade improvements continue downtown, and biodiesel production soon may be coming to the Phipps Bend Industrial Park near Surgoinsville.

The first facade grant check for already-done work downtown is about to be cut, and three new grants gained formal approval Tuesday morning from the Kingsport Economic Development Board.

The board, at its regular meeting at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce building downtown, voted to approve the issuance of a $6,500 check to Aaron Carson for work he's had done at 104 E. Market St.

Bob Feathers, chairman of the Facade Committee of the Kingsport Office of Small Business Entrepreneurship that recommended Carson be paid, said the check should be ready for Carson in the next few days.

KOSBE administers the facade program funded by the city.

The KEDB also approved the awarding of three new grants of up to $5,000 each to Carson for a project at 107 Market St.; to Doug Beaty's DB3 Development Co. for work at 231 E. Sullivan St.; and to Shawn and Jessica Sutterland for work at 207 Broad St., which once housed Betty Gay.

The facade fund, which originally had $50,000, was down to $17,500 in non-committed funds when the city committed another $60,000 for the program. That, combined with the awarding of $15,000 in grants Tuesday, leaves the facade fund at $62,500. For more information on applying, contact KOSBE Executive Director Aundrea Wilcox at 392-8801 or by e-mail at awilcox@kosbe.org, or contact NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership Director of Business Development Betty Martin at 279-7682 or bmartin@networkstn.com.

As for the proposed biodiesel operation, the board approved - subject to study and clarification - plans for a biodiesel operation at Phipps Bend.

Gorman Waddell, an attorney and ex-officio member of the board, reported that the owner of Box Works in the park has approached the Phipps Bend Joint Venture Board with plans to make biodiesel at the Box Works site with a partner and a company called New Energy.

The operation will require repair or replacement of a rail spur or side track on the property and permission from the Joint Venture to build a new building for the biodiesel operation.

Waddle and KEDB Chairman Larry Estepp said the operation may require changing covenants in the park that prohibit outdoor storage tanks visible from the street level and may prohibit underground piping from the building to a spur.

Kingsport and Hawkins County, which jointly own and manage the park on the site of the defunct Tennessee Valley Authority Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant, would have no expenses associated with the operation. They own the rail spur system, but Waddle said the railroad has agreed to do the spur work.

Officials said the proposed operation and others in various stages of development in the region would fill only a fraction of the projected demand for biodiesel.

On other matters, City Manager John Campbell said two restaurants are soon expected to be signed up for the Kingsport Pavilion development on East Stone Drive. One is new to Kingsport, and the other new to the area, Campbell said, declining to identify them. Target, Kohl's and Old Navy so far are the publicly confirmed tenants for the retail development slated to open before Christmas.

In addition, he said the new owners of the Fort Henry Mall are working to attract a tenant new to the area.

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