Alcoa City Commission on Tuesday passed several resolutions and ordinances that help make way for roadwork, zoning, funding and other matters related to the Smith & Wesson deal set to see the gun maker move into Partnership Park North.
The industrial park is just west of McGhee Tyson Airport off Proffitt Springs Road
It’s currently in Alcoa but will change hands to Maryville using an “urban growth boundary coordinating committee,” a group of leaders from local governments organized through Tennessee law to alter the city’s urban growth boundaries — space outside cities limits where they’re legally slated to grow in the coming decades.
Alcoa’s move to organize this committee required formal public hearings before commissioners could vote on sending “materials” to this committee.
The second and final public hearing was Tuesday. No one from the community chose to speak.
City Manager Mark Johnson recently penned an “Urban Growth Boundary Proposal” on this “land swap” between Maryville and Alcoa, explaining the need and the technicalities behind the move.
That proposal doesn’t mention the Smith & Wesson deal by name, — it was written before the Sept. 30 announcement — but does discuss the need to put the land inside Maryville because of expected “industrial customers.”
This land swap has been on the table since early September, before the announcement Smith & Wesson would relocate its headquarters and some manufacturing operations to Blount from Springfield, Massachusetts.
Completing this deal — effectively annexing the industrial park’s 236 acres into Maryville — will take months.
It also requires revisions to other parts of Alcoa’s boundaries and other technical ordinances, like the one commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday to “contract” its corporate limits once the land is de-annexed.
Alcoa is not just getting rid of the Partnership Park North land, however.
Tuesday commissioners voted unanimously to remove from its urban growth boundary numerous parcels comprising approximately 367 acres of land on the west side of Proffitt Springs Road.
That will bring Alcoa’s urban growth boundary to the edge of Proffitt Springs Road’s east side.
This will help as the Smith & Wesson site is set to connect to Maryville’s sewer system, a project that Blount County, Alcoa and Maryville will pay for together, Johnson told commissioners.
The land Alcoa will relinquish is both inside its city limits and inside the urban growth boundary, currently Blount County land.
Another element that will need to be cleared up to make way for the gun-manufacturing site is road access.
Louisville Road, one of the main arteries to the Partnership Park North area, will be improved as part of a Tennessee Department of Transportation “State Industrial Access” (SIA) project, which commissioners unanimously approved and recommended to TDOT Tuesday.
Alcoa is taking the lead on securing grant money for this project because the road is inside the city limits.
The project is set to cost a total $4,850,000 but local governments will only pay an estimated $401,500 of that total cost.
According to commission notes, $186,150 was already deposited for a SIA in this area back when Advanced Munitions International (AMI) planned to move to the area.
Therefore, the only amount local governments may have to pay for this road-improvement project will be $215,350.
Since they split costs and revenues for such projects, Alcoa would only pay $64,605.
According to commission notes, the SIA project would include “a new signalized intersection at Louisville Road and Louisville Loop Road along with various other roadway improvements to serve Smith & Wesson, Inc. at Partnership Park North.”
Finally, commissioners Tuesday also agreed to up the amount of recent bond issuance — a money-borrowing move approved in August — from $23 million to $25 million.
Much of this new $2 million in debt will go to pay for construction at the Alcoa Intermediate School upgrade, set to cost more than $17 million.
But some of this borrowed money will also be put toward paying for road and sewer improvements for Smith & Wesson.
Officials with the 170-old gunmaker said it they plan to officially start the southern migration in 2023.