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Ideas to better Warren County

James Clark, Editor - Southern Standard

We live in a mostly spectacular community, but there are always ways to make things better. It’s with this in mind, I asked a few of our business leaders their thoughts about ways we can improve our fine community.

The most common answer was more residential developments as we are quickly becoming a more attractive place to call home than the traffic headache of Murfreesboro, known for its overpriced housing.

Local businessman Todd Herzog quoted stats from the Boyd Research Center at UT-Knoxville that projects there will be 1 million new citizens in Tennessee over the next decade, including about 500,000 of those centered around Rutherford County.

“Population growth is a real issue,” said Todd. “We are right on the edge of a burst of growth which could serve us well for some time if we take advantage of this opportunity and be proactive, not reactive.”

I’m not convinced Rutherford County is embracing any more growth at this time. A new high school seems to open in that county every year and its roads are already jammed to capacity.

This is where Warren County can showcase our attributes as a cozy alternative to the dizzying stimulation of big-city life. But we need more places to live, as pointed out by Security Federal’s Michael Griffith.

“We need planned residential developments that incorporate Warren County’s No. 1 asset, which is the natural setting of the Cumberland Plateau along miles of scenic rivers within a short drive to great Southern cities like Nashville and Chattanooga,” said Griff. “This will improve our tax base while increasing sales tax collections from newcomers with higher discretionary income.

'The developments must include hiking and biking amenities and work to enhance the outdoor recreation we already have here. This will further support the great retail businesses and restaurants we have in our community.”

County Commissioner and Prater’s BBQ owner Gary Prater says he believes the best way to move Warren County forward is to concentrate on the entire county.

“All of our emphasis seems to be surrounding the city and what’s happening on Main Street or happening at the Park Theater,” said Prater. “The rural areas need attention too, from county line to county line. We get so caught in downtown, we forget about Morrison, Centertown, Dibrell and Irving College.”

Local nurseryman and County Commissioner Scott Rubley said he would like to see more done to fully embrace the nursery industry.

“With the economic impact of the nursery industry being so substantial, I think an agricultural center in the county would be very beneficial, something similar to the center in Lebanon,” said Rubley. “It would be convenient for the local nurseries to be able to have trade shows and events here. We would also be able to keep the dollars spent by potential customers here in Warren County. With the new hotel project, I think it could provide a good opportunity for increased revenues. We have been attempting to meet with the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture in hopes there may be some state and federal funding available.”

Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander pointed out Tennessee is already a major automotive hub with the likes of Nissan and Volkswagen. He thinks it would benefit Warren County if we could work to refine automotive technology.

“If we could devote more research into refining electric cars, I think it would serve us well,” said Don. “A drawback with electric cars is people are afraid the battery will run out before they reach their destination.

The batteries are being designed to go further and further and another thing that’s happening is extra batteries are being designed to carry in briefcases to replace batteries once they’re out.”

I was well-impressed by the insight offered by members of our business community about ways to make Warren County better. Voicing ideas is a fitting first step to warming up the launch pad.

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