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Franklin County business park gets federal grant for road construction

Franklin County business park gets federal grant for road construction

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The development of Franklin County’s newest business park just got a $4.7 million boost from the federal government.

“The timing just couldn’t be better,” said Franklin County Board of Supervisors Chairman Leland Mitchell. “It comes at a time that we are ready to use it.”

The federal grant comes from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of a program to help economically distressed areas attract new businesses.

“The project will expedite business growth by building a key connector road and providing an alternative shipping route to Highway 220 in the Summit View Business Park,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

At present the northern half of Summit View contains the new 100,000-square foot factory for Stik Pak Solutions, a field destined to become a site for outdoor festivals, a new water tower that’s just a couple of weeks from completion, and the future site for California-based herbal tea maker Traditional Medicinals’ East Coast facility.

The southern half contains the soon to be completed administrative campus for ValleyStar Credit Union, a pavilion and trail loop, and a future site for a 24-hour library — essentially a vending machine for books.

At present the only way to get from the northern half to the southern half and vice versa is via U.S. 220. The federal infrastructure grant will help the county improve and extend a road within the park so that it connects the two halves. County officials estimate the full cost of the road project will be about $13.85 million.

The county first started buying the land for the 550-acre business park in 2016 and broke ground for construction the next year. Summit View lies on the west side of U.S. 220 about 3 miles south of Boones Mill.

Michael Burnette, recently promoted from director of economic development to assistant county administrator, said plans for the business park include more walking trails and picnic tables surrounding ponds fed by storm water, athletic fields and possibly even a new county fire-EMS station.

With the inclusion of so many quality of life features, the county is trying “to bring a West Coast feel into the park, more all-encompassing into one location,” Burnette said. “We’re hoping that by doing it this way, with lots of green space, that we’re able to attract a lot of West Coast companies that are looking for an East Coast location. Traditional Medicinals is the prime example.”

Traditional Medicinals, the fourth largest maker of bagged tea in the United States, announced in January that the company intends to build a 125,000-square foot facility in Franklin County.

Along with Burnette, county director of planning Steve Sandy was also promoted to an assistant county administrator position last week.

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