Lowe can now put letters after his name

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

By Karen Hall


Lewisburg's Director of Economic Development, Greg Lowe, is now a Tennessee Certified Economic Developer, and can put the letters TcED after his name.

He was a member of the first class of 10 to go through this course administered by the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

"Now I have a UT diploma," joked Lowe at a meeting of the Industrial Development Board Monday. "It's only 30 years too late."

According to the website, the TcED program is tailored to give participants a broad based knowledge of economic opportunities and trends, core components, and tools required to compete in today's global economy, with a focus on economic development in Tennessee.

During his presentation to the IDB, Lowe noted they were holding Manufacturers' Day at Marshall County High School Tuesday, to talk to students about careers in manufacturing.

"There are good careers available in these industrial parks," he said. "Manufacturing has a bad image with the young people."

He told IDB members that Project Green chose to expand in Pulaski, where they are currently based, rather than move to Lewisburg.

There are still two projects thinking about coming here, Lowe said, including one who might build to suit on the pad the city is constructing at the I-65 Commerce Park, which should be done by the end of next month.

"Workforce is task No. 1," Lowe said. "Imperial Foods, Meiwa, CKNA, Talos, and Walker Die Casting are all hiring. There are jobs out there."

Mayor Jim Bingham has just come back from a trip to Japan as a delegate to the Southeast U.S. and Japan trade conference in Tokyo.

"I believe Tennessee has the best economic and community development department," Bingham told IDB members. "But the other five states are nipping at our heels.

"We have to stay focused because we are in the big leagues now," he continued. "Nobody has the caliber of person we have sitting right there," he said, pointing to Lowe.

A five-minute video, "Japan and Tennessee: a special relationship" was made by Tennessee and presented at the SEUS Japan conference.

"They did a good job with that," exclaimed Lowe.

"It was great to see that," agreed Bingham. "It was a surprise to us."

The video can be seen at www.lewisburgtnecd.blogspot.com.

"I continue to be excited about what's happening in Lewisburg," said Bingham at the start of the work session. "I believe we're focused and going in the right direction."

Council members heard an update on work at the Rec Center from Mike Borgelt of Gobbell Hays Partners. The structural repairs on the stair towers at the corners of the gym are going out for bid, and the swimming pool project is on schedule, so the new pool can open on May 23, 2015, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

City Manager Randall Dunn gave council members and update on his work on grants for the city.

It was originally planned to apply for both a multimodal and an enhancement grant to pay for the work on the 1st Avenue North connection from the square to Rock Creek Park, in the hope of getting one or the other.

However, Dunn said a state employee advised him the chances of getting the multimodal grant for that project were "between none and zero."

Therefore, he decided to only apply for the enhancement grant for the 1st Avenue project, and apply for the multimodal for another project: creating access to the greenway from the East Commerce Street bridge.

"That would be a good for a multimodal grant," Dunn said. He explained the bridge on East Commerce is on the Tennessee Department of Transportation's list of bridges to replace, but this applies strictly to the bridge, and would not cover adding the connector. The connector would have a very gradual slope to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and could cost less than $500,000, with the city only having to pay 5 percent, if they get the grant.

The city's cost for the 1st Avenue project could be up to $455,000, even if they get the enhancement grant, but Dunn said he thought it was worth it.

"It's a real opportunity to do something significant," he said.

The city did recently receive a grant from the Tennessee Stormwater Association for green infrastructure. This will be used to make a parking lot behind the pavilion in Rock Creek Park. This will be "green" because instead of having a hard surface the parking lot will have a permeable surface so when it rains, the water will soak into the ground instead of running off and down a storm drain.