Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Thursday that the entire region will be challenged as Volkswagen and other suppliers move in.
“The second wave is coming,” Mr. Littlefield told the Rotary Club of Chattanooga. “Companies are coming.”
He said officials are readying themselves for the coming manufacturers.
The Chattanooga metropolitan region faces three challenges as Volkswagen builds its plant, Mayor Ron Littlefield said:
* Financial: As the global economy wanes, suppliers will need money.
* Environmental: Chattanooga has marketed itself as an environmental community and must maintain that image even with growth.
* Regional: Petty jealousies must be put aside to make sure everyone gets a share of the wealth.
Source: Mayor Ron Littlefield
Mr. Littlefield, along with a 40-person delegation of Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia officials, to Germany last week to talk to potential suppliers for Volkswagen. The first wave of growth for the city and region is the Volkswagen plant now being built, he said.
The next waves will be suppliers moving into the Enterprise South industrial park, where VW is located, and into the region surrounding Hamilton County. The region will face three challenges — financial, environmental and regional, the mayor said.
Local officials have started addressing those challenges by banding together, and the trip to Germany helped cement those relationships, he said.
“It laid the foundation to get over jealousies,” Mr. Littlefield said. “If a plant locates in Dunlap (Tenn.), we shouldn’t be jealous of that.”
Sequatchie County Mayor Michael Hudson said any company locating in the region is a potential job for people in Sequatchie County.
“There’s certainly no jealousy here,” Mr. Hudson said. “If we don’t get a plant in Dunlap, we want it in this region.”