By issuing its first contract in connection with the Volkswagen plant site on Friday, the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board signed itself up for a carload of work over the next year.
To keep up with VW’s goal to open its $1 billion plant by 2011, the development board Friday approved its first VW site contract — one to relocate just over three miles of streams and fill in a wetlands area at the Enterprise South site, city attorney Randy Nelson said.
Knowing they would be handling a lot of work in the near future, board members also voted to begin meeting once a week, not just once a year as has been customary, Mr. Nelson said.
The Industrial Development Board “will be the conduit of money and property” while the site is being prepared for the VW plant, Mr. Nelson said. He declined to specify the anticipated terms of what state, county and industrial leaders call a “pilot” agreement.
The Industrial Development Board is tax exempt and, when agreements are finalized, the board will own the Volkswagen site. As the owner, it can pay for infrastructure improvements as well as channel property tax breaks to VW, all part of the incentives package from the city, county and state, Mr. Nelson said.
Under law, such incentive agreements must be authorized through the Industrial Development Board and then approved by the City Council.
“They (the development board) will be contracting with the city for purchasing and to do financial work,” Mr. Nelson said. “And they will eventually hold title to the property. ... At the end of whatever period is agreed upon, they will confer the property to Volkswagen.”
Staff Photo by Patrick Smith
Both City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County workers continue to prepare the Enterprise South site for the Volkswagen plant.
In its first contract, the board accepted a $4.9 million bid from Sharp Contracting of Maryville, Tenn., to reroute the streams and fill the wetlands at Enterprise South.
Five other companies also sought the project, with some bids rising to $6 million, said Hamilton County Engineer Todd Leamon. The estimated cost was $5.2 million, he said.
Tisha Calabrese Benton, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said the state issued a permit to move the streams Friday.
Another bid is pending to replace or reconstruct the filled wetlands with a new wetland area intended to serve as a stormwater runoff area for the entire Enterprise South site, Mr. Leamon said. That work also is estimated at about $5 million, he said.
The next meeting of the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board will be Aug. 12.
Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...