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IDB says no to convenience center

County officials asked members of the McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board on Thursday to consider donating four acres of land in the industrial park in Morrison for a mega convenience center.

IDB members gave their consideration and then explained they aren’t interested in locating a dump in the industrial park.

“I think it would be very short-sighted for us to move this into the industrial park because it goes against what we’re trying to do in the long run,” said IDB president Jenny Nafrada. “We shouldn’t fix this problem in the short term and hurt taxpayers in the process.”

IDB members believe locating a convenience center in the industrial park will be a detriment in recruiting companies. The IDB surveyed existing industries already in operation and none of them warmly embraced the idea. Morrison Industries, which is directly next to the four acres in question, is not in favor of having a dump next door.

“They have an $11 million payroll at Morrison Industries,” said IDB member Brent McCay. “If they move $11 million out of Warren County because they’re upset we put a trash dump next to them, we’re taking away people’s livelihood.”

Added IDB member Jeff Golden, “I can’t see a prospect coming in here and there being a big pile of garbage in our industrial park.” County Executive Jimmy Haley, County Commissioner Steven Helton and Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts made the request for the four acres.

“We’re not going to put a bunch of dumpsters on a pile of gravel,” said Haley in stressing the facility would look nice. “Warren County’s recycling needs to go up. We have to increase our recycling. This will be designed and laid out with the future in mind.”

The goal is to combine the two convenience centers in Smartt Station and Morrison into one giant center that offers a full array of recycling options much like the convenience center at the fairgrounds.

Traffic was a concern and Roberts estimated the two centers combined serve around 225 vehicles on a busy day like Saturday.

Helton said estimates he’s received so far have put the cost of purchasing four acres in Morrison at around $100,000. He said it would be a huge savings to the taxpayers if the IDB could donate the land and it would not be an eyesore.

“We’ll put landscaping around it and build a facility that will be a showcase,” said Helton.

IDB member Trevor Galligan responded, “I appreciate you trying to save the taxpayers money but what’s the project going to cost at the expense of losing industry?”