Maryville City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday to spend $3.1 million this fiscal year to develop land off the Robert C. Jackson Drive Extension, where the city continues to sell land and plan for a potential big industrial future.
The move was technically an amendment to the 2022 fiscal year budget and will pull from capital project fund money. That money will be spent on engineering designs, extended utilities, grading, roadway improvements and a new traffic signal.
With a price tag of exactly $3,150,000, the move shows governmental confidence in how the area will sell in the coming months and years.
According to notes on the decision, “funds will be used from the sale of the property that this road (Robert C. Jackson) serves. Remaining unsold property will be improved with this construction resulting in a higher sales price.”
This echoes what City Manager Greg McClain told council members during recent budget talks, namely that the city would use money from the sale of the land to foot the bill for pricey development work.
Officials are calling land on either side of the Robert C. Jackson Drive Extension “Laurel Branch Park.” Some parcels in that area already have sold. Some are still being processed. Some — the ones the city will work on — have not sold.
Possibly the largest planned development in this area is a secondary Amazon facility, which The Daily Times first reported in early May based on design documents and online records.
Maryville leaders have not confirmed or denied the new warehouse, but planned road access improvements — especially on Big Springs Road, which runs parallel to U.S. Highway 321 inside Laurel Branch Park — suggest the city is considering better routes from the area to 321 (West Lamar Alexander Parkway).
These will include, according to notes, “a traffic signal at Big Springs Road and Robert C. Jackson, turn lane modifications and median modifications to accommodate the expected flow of vehicles.”
Since Amazon and its warehouse developer Seefried Industrial Properties are still in the early stages of designing this project, there’s no official word on how many vehicles may be coming and going from this area on a daily basis should the warehouse plan turn into reality.
However, designs show developers were planning 72 “van staging” parking spaces, 72 “van loading” parking spaces, 12 truck-loading bays and nearly 1,000 more parking spaces surrounding the warehouse.
If this warehouse project comes to fruition, it would be the second Amazon facility in Blount County: The first and only one officially announced is currently under construction in Alcoa near the intersection of U.S Highway 129 and Pellissippi Parkway.
Some traffic studies for the Robert C. Jackson area already have been completed, according to council notes.
In other business Tuesday, council members:
• Approved renewal of a taxi cab franchise to Charles Henry Tyler of Blount Taxi.
• Approved abandoning four different alleys near South Everett High Road, between Springdale and Pinedale streets and between McGhee Street and Lord Avenue.
• Approved a sole-source contract with JAH Power Services Inc. for $164,000 to provide maintenance work for city electrical systems.
• Approved a motion to allow the mayor to sign a contract to buy radio frequency licenses for meter-reading services from VIE Technologies Inc. for $61,209.
• Approved a mayoral reappointment of Brian Boone and Chris Hackler to the Tree Board.
• Approved a mayoral reappointment of Gary Best, James Tomiczek and Mike Brown to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
• Approved a mayoral re-
appointment of Suzette Donovan to the city’s Planning Commission.
• Approved reappointment of Jane Groff to the Blount County Cable TV Authority.
• Approved reappointment of Mike Davis to the Blount County Rescue Squad board of directors.
• Approved declaring a 2011 Crown Victoria as surplus.