Marion County tech center project advances

Marion County tech center project advances

May 25th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Marion County Mayor John Graham

Marion County Mayor John Graham

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

KIMBALL, Tenn. - The release of funding for the proposed regional skills center along U.S. Highway 41 in Kimball is so close that Marion County leaders are preparing for the bidding process.

County Mayor John Graham said this week he is happy finally to have some good news about the project.

Permission has been granted to put out bids for construction through Tennessee's Economic and Community Development FastTrack program, he said.

"Rural Development money has also been officially released for us to use," he said. "The only thing we're waiting on is [Economic Development Administration] money."

Graham spoke recently with the EDA's loan administrator about the $1 million needed to start construction, and he said things seem to be moving forward.

"They are not yet prepared to officially let us bid it, but [officials said] we should go on and pick a bid date because they are so close to having this thing finalized," Graham said.

According to Economic Development Administration officials, the plans for the project "look good," he said, and "the only issue left was a minor one."

The paperwork the administration uses is set up only for government-owned property scenarios, County Attorney Billy Gouger said, and that caused a slight problem with the county's submission.

"One of our easements that was granted to Kimball for the sewer line extension is property that is privately owned," he said. "That property does not really fit into the form of the paperwork the EDA uses."

Officials have fixed the problem by supplementing the required paperwork with a letter that explains the property's ownership.

Gouger said administration officials are "satisfied" that the paperwork is in order now.

"As far as the legal issues are concerned, everything is cleared," he said. "I anticipate we'll get a full clearance from them within the next few days."

Graham said if bids for the project are opened on June 27, it is believed that construction will be complete by spring of next year.

"We'll just have to see how that timeline works out," he said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at