Forum To Feature New Business Ideas

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Finding ways to attract new business to Cannon County is the goal of a community forum scheduled for April 7 at the Cannon County Courthouse.

The forum will feature Cannon County’s representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly, Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Mark Pody, and local government and business leaders.

The Cannon County Republican Party is coordinating the event, but stresses it will be non-political in nature and is open to all citizens interested in bring more business and jobs to Cannon County.

Specific topics will focus on:

• Current available land sites

• Current available buildings

• All available monies and grants   

• Development of an incentive plan to entice new industry to locate to Cannon County

“The idea of a summit for our elected officials came about in our January Republican Party meeting when Mark Pody was present and bringing new industry to Cannon County was discussed with him,” Corey Davenport, Secretary of the Cannon County Republican Party, said.

“I think it had been in the back of my mind for a while to get everyone together and talk about what we could do to entice new business here. During the meeting, Mark talked about starting to work for Cannon County and how he needed to know what we wanted in order to help us. I think from that point forward it became a collective idea to hold this meeting.” 

Davenport said the involvement of elected officials is paramount to bringing new industry to Cannon County.

“At the end of the day, it will be those people who sign contracts, create an incentive package, collect monies, apply for grants, conduct land studies, etc. New businesses or industry will look to them first when considering Cannon County as a place to locate. If the elected officials have a true desire to see new jobs and growth in Cannon County, this meeting will give them all an opportunity to sit and talk with two of the most influential people we have working for us in Mae Beavers and Mark Pody.”

Davenport said he hopes the outcome of the meeting will be to have all interested parties working toward specific goals.

“First and foremost I personally would like to see an incentive plan to attract new businesses to Cannon County come from this meeting. I would like to see a commitment on the part of our elected officials to work diligently toward making that happen. I hope to see as much community involvement as possible toward creating new jobs and industry. I think we have three communities inside of Cannon County all working separately. We have Woodbury, Auburntown and Cannon County each with different goals. Although that is necessary at times, imagine what it could be if we had all working toward one goal for the whole. We won't solve all of our problems with this one meeting, however it is a beginning and one that has been needed for a long time.”

Senator Beavers and Representative Pody can be utilized to draw industry and business here to Cannon County if we help them help us, Davenport said.

“I think Mark said it best when he said, ‘it is my job to help bring industry to Cannon County and one I take very seriously, but it is your job to keep them here once I do.’  We have one chance to make a good impression with new industry because there are dozens of communities out there with the same problem we have and they want that business to come to their town as well.” 

Davenport believes business growth is imperative for the county’s fiscal survival.

“An incentive package is key to bringing new business to Cannon County. Available land is key. Work force is key. There are a lot of variables that can either make or break a deal when someone becomes interested in locating here. The one thing that is imperative to bringing new industry to Cannon County in my opinion is desire. In my own personal opinion, and I am speaking entirely for myself, if the people of Cannon County want us to remain like Mayberry then you will continue to see empty buildings on the square, you will continue to see our work force driving to other counties and you will continue to see tax dollars being spent elsewhere while we suffer in providing the basic needs of a community because we have no money to spend.

The idea of holding the forum appears to be catching on quickly. All members of the Woodbury Board of Mayor and Aldermen expressed interest in attending during its meeting Tuesday night, and Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon says he will participate.

Davenport has invited officials from all of the county’s governmental bodies. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. April 7 in the courtroom of the courthouse.