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Haley presents strategic plan for county growth
Mayor Haley with plan.jpg
County Executive Jimmy Haley shows the audience a copy of an action plan to improve Warren County during a speech Monday night at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.

Warren County now has an action plan.

As unveiled by County Executive Jimmy Haley at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet on Monday night, a comprehensive plan has been established to guide the county through a series of goals.

This includes objectives for agriculture, tourism, economic development, education, emergency services, parks and recreation, and more.

“We’ve never had a strategic plan before,” said Haley, while holding a copy of the plan for the audience to see. “This strategic plan gives us a roadmap. It outlines a course of action. It’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to come together as a community.”

Chamber president Mandy Eller devoted a portion of her speech to tourism and said efforts continue to be made to make McMinnville a destination hub. Eller said 2.92 million people live within a two-hour drive of McMinnville and added that number has only grown since that figure was released.

“We know visitations lead to relocations,” said Eller.

In terms of the Chamber, Eller announced 47 new members joined in 2018. She said that’s a substantial increase from the 26 new Chamber members the year before in 2017.

The strategic plan noted agriculture is already a thriving business in Warren County. Holding more farm-to-table events was mentioned as a way to improve it even more. Growing hemp as a crop could be another avenue for local farmers to find success.

When it comes to tourism, the strategic plan said a priority list should be generated indicating what restaurants and activities are needed in this area. It identified downtown lodging as one area of need.

As far as seasonal ideas, it was pointed out Warren County could do more to capitalize on Bonnaroo and advertise our community as a “Last Stop Before Bonnaroo.”

With a new robotics center just months away from becoming operational in McMinnville, this facility is viewed as a way to make our community a regional training mecca for the entire Southeast.

When it comes to the basic need of housing, the strategic plan said officials should identify areas in the community which are prime spots for residential growth and should work to get utilities to those areas so they are ready to develop.