HomeBusinessReports highlight positive potential for Madison County

Reports highlight positive potential for Madison County

Reports from Jackson-Madison County Schools, The Greater Jackson Chamber and McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport dominated much of the 94 minutes of Monday’s Madison County Commission meeting.

All three reports were positive and upbeat in nature.

JMCSS Director Marlon King turned it over to Teresa McSweeney, the district’s chief innovative officer, to discuss the district’s plans for a $10 million grant they’re set to receive from the state of Tennessee for innovative technology.

The majority of her discussion centered on STEM Academy facilities planned to be housed in the old Malesus Elementary School building that will help in innovative education including robotics, bioSTEM and other area of innovative study.

JMCSS was one of eight school districts described as “exemplary” because of their use of money from the grant last year, and the only one in West Tennessee honored as well.

The Greater Jackson Chamber updated the Commission about how things are looking nearly 14 months after the announcement of Ford Motor Company and SK Innovations coming to nearby Haywood County as part of Blue Oval City. A housing study has been done this year, and results from that study expect to be presented to the Commission and Jackson City Council within the next few months.

“Housing is our biggest need at this juncture,” said Kyle Spurgeon, CEO of The Greater Jackson Chamber. “But we’ve got apartments going up that will help with that, and there’s a need for more homes to be built in the county to attract some of the workers who will come to Ford and SK Innovations and some of their supplier plants.”

Spurgeon mentioned how residential development is transforming, saying subdivisions are becoming “old school” while developers are trying to create spaces to “live, work and play.”

“The description of those areas look very similar to Jackson Walk,” Spurgeon said. “We probably need about five or six more of those in Madison County.”

The airport welcomed the arrival of Southern Airways into the terminal this past summer, and the Transportation Security Administration announced its return to Jackson a few weeks later.

These two developments mean more travel traffic will move through Jackson, which is important for development related to Blue Oval City.

Director Steve Smith also discussed the coming project next year to redo one of their runways that’s 38 years old.

“Runways typically have a shelf life of 20 to 25 years,” Smith said. “So this is in need of replacement.”

Work on the hangars is needed too as two of the facilities on site at McKellar-Sipes are more than 80 years old, but those won’t be replaced until after the new runway project, which is set to cost a little more than $13 million and mostly paid with federal and state funds, is done.

The Commission approved a change to the act that would force Great Wolf Lodge to begin construction on its building in Jackson in 2023. They moved that deadline back to the end of 2024 as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the project down the list of Great Wolf Lodge’s projects and then delayed further by supply chain issues.

The excess property and resale committee announced to the Commission that all properties on the county’s roll had been sold, which meant 42 total properties went for a little more than $29,000.

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