City of Alcoa plans Turkey Creek-type development
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALCOA Inc.’s impact over the community over the last 100 years has been amazing, Alcoa Assistant City Manager Bill Hammon told a legislative coffee at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, and the impact continues.
“The aluminum company was instrumental in helping us get the land on which to build the new high school,” Hammon said. “ALCOA has been pivotal in making that happen.”
That land is on the edge of the former West Plant property.
The 375-acre West Plant site is where the city is planning to marry retail, manufacturing and residential into a community. The project will be carried out in phases.
Hammon said over the next eight to 10 years the development is going to be a dynamic area, explaining that the former West Plant is a brownfield site, but ALCOA Inc. has done a good job as a steward of the property.
Once a building was torn down, ALCOA stabilized the sites and the city has had to do little remediation, Hammon said.
The Hunt Road interchange reconfiguration is pivotal to get people in and out of the site, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation and city of Alcoa are on the same page with that plan, he said.
The plan is to build a Turkey Creek-type retail complex as Phase I in the development, he said.
That will be a big shot in the arm for the city of Alcoa, and Hammon said city officials are always trying to recruit retail tenants for the space.
“Our numbers on the economy are looking like we are climbing out of the hole,” he said.
The West Plant operated on a 50-acre concrete slab that ALCOA Inc. grassed over. The city is trying to determine whether to leave the slab in place or break it up.
Hammon said McGhee Tyson Airport is literally located in the middle of the city and accounts for 20 percent of all the traffic on Alcoa Highway, which means shoppers to all of Blount County.
The city works very closely with airport officials, he said.
Hammon said Alcoa was the second city manager/commission type government in the state, the first being Kingsport due to Eastman Kodak. The corporations wanted a type of government like that found in the business world, he said, explaining that the community elects a city commission and that group selects the mayor. The commission decides the policy and the city manager carries it out.
He also stressed the importance of Blount County communities working together.
“We are a community that shows when you work together it really pays dividends for everyone involved,” Hammon said.
That is not the case across the state, he added.