Think tank blasts Hamilton County's purchase of farmland for industrial park

Beacon Center calls it a 'Field of Dreams,' but mayor says it provides 'a lot of opportunities for different types of use'

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / McDonald Farm is seen on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020 in Sale Creek, Tenn. It was recently announced that Hamilton County has an interest in purchasing the farm, which is up for sale, in order to build an industrial park on the land.

As Hamilton County government prepares its biggest land purchase in decades for a new industrial park, a conservative think tank in Nashville is blasting the move as "a horrible policy" that will allow only about a third of the property to be developed for new industry.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he hopes to complete a $16 million acquisition in the next week for the 2,179-acre McDonald Farm in Sale Creek to develop needed sites for industrial and business development and as well as provide additional parkland and recreational areas.

But the Beacon Center of Tennessee claims the farm purchase is one of the worst examples of government waste in the state for 2021.

"Hamilton County commissioners must be fans of the movie 'Field of Dreams' after spending $16 million to buy 2,170 acres in hopes to turn it into a manufacturing hub," the Beacon Center says in its new Pork Report, highlighting what it calls the worst examples of waste, fraud and abuse in Tennessee during the past year.