RINGGOLD, Ga. - Nearly 20 engineering firms have shown interest in helping Catoosa County officials build an industrial park, county officials said.
"There has been a lot of interest; we had about 19 or 20 firms request more information (on the request for proposals)," County Projects Administrator Christal Thomas said. "That's quite a bit, but in these days and times, everybody needs to work."
Interested companies have until 4:30 p.m. Thursday to submit proposals and qualifications to design site work for an industrial park on a 50-acre site on state Highway 151. The successful applicant will provide ideas for the best use of the property and suggestions on how to proceed, officials said.
"The thinking is, 'Because we've not done this before, why not ask the experts?'" Ms. Thomas said. "Rather than have a narrow idea, why not ask for some great ideas and get a whole lot to choose from?"
County commissioners voted in December to pay $2 million for the tract on Highway 151 at Holcomb Road as part of county leaders' focus on recruiting industry. Commission Chairman Keith Greene said the county's budget is too dependent upon residential property taxes.
The Economic Development Authority will oversee work at the Highway 151 Industrial Park and will review the proposals and make a recommendation to the County Commission. Ms. Thomas said it will probably be May before a decision is made.
Authority member and past chairman Bob Peck said the proposals are an important first step.
"We believe there will be activity, probably in the second half of this year, on the property," said Mr. Peck, chairman of Gateway Bank and Trust in Ringgold, Ga. "There are some things we need to do in order to get that property ready for sale, so that when people come to look at it, it's not just raw land."
A team of project leaders from the state Department of Community Affairs praised the site after they toured it March 12.
The team, which works on statewide marketing and recruiting, told county officials they moved the Highway 151 site to the top of their list sites to pitch to potential industrial recruits, county officials said.