Representatives of the Tri≠Cities Airport Authority; the Cities of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City; and Sullivan County and Washington County; as well as State of Tennessee officials, celebrate the next phase of development for Aerospace Park. Photo by Randy Gentry, Fresh Air Photographics, courtesy Tri-Cities Airport
Community leaders were in attendance and construction vehicles were on display Oct. 4 at Tri-Cities Airport, setting the stage for the next phase of Aerospace Park site development.
Site construction in Aerospace Park is underway and is scheduled to be completed in late fall 2020. Once this phase of construction is complete, Aerospace Park will have a total of 105 acres ready for immediate development.
The park already offers 32 acres ready for development. TCAA staff continue to promote the current availability of the site to target industries. The completion of each phase of Aerospace Park development has offered additional promotional benefits and recognition for the site.
“Aerospace Park would not be in this stage of development if it were not for the support of our funding partners,” said TCAA Chairman Dr. Jon Smith. “It has been an honor to be a part of the cities and counties coming together on this significant, regional economic development project.”
TCAA Executive Director Patrick Wilson added his appreciation to the Aerospace Park funding partners. “The support from our community partners has been very important as we sought additional funding to complete the site,” said Wilson. “The Airport Authority has received grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and TVA. We appreciate each of these funding partners as we continue to move Aerospace Park forward.”
Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable hailed the project as a major step forward in regional cooperation. “Not often in life do you get a chance to redefine yourself, and as a region and a state do you get a chance to redefine yourself and say, ‘this is who we want to be when we grow up.’ This is one of those signature moments in our history here in Northeast Tennessee.”
Tennessee State Senator Jon Lundberg thanked Wilson for his work in lobbying for the funding, while acknowledging Wilson’s eminent departure to become president of McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville. “He has been the person who has coordinated across the board, so Patrick, thanks to you.”
David Jones, airport operations director, will be acting director during the search for Wilson’s permanent replacement.
The TCAA will be competing for approximately $1.7 million in grant funding for the final phase. The final phase of site construction will include grading completion of 17 acres and the addition of utilities and access roads. Once the total site is complete, TCAA will seek certification of the 122-acre site through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Select Tennessee Site program.
Site completion and certification will bolster Aerospace Park marketing efforts, according to Mark Canty, TCAA Director of Trade and Business Development. “Expanding the footprint of the current certified acreage of Aerospace Park will allow us to more effectively promote the site, compete for large projects, and increase our ability to bring quality jobs to Northeast Tennessee,” Canty said.
The TCAA’s target industries for Aerospace Park include maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, completion and delivery centers, passenger to freighter conversion centers, and manufacturers.