Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

East Wilson County growth something to be proud of

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Oftentimes, we find ourselves saying, "Nothing good ever happens around here." Well, for the east side of Lebanon and Wilson County that simply isn't true. There have been so many good things happening here that maybe some of them have gone unnoticed or unmentioned. I feel this is a fitting time to remind everyone of the hard work that is taking place.

Plans are underway to convert a portion of the former Lebanon High School into a new Wilson County Board of Education office. We have invested $14.5 million into this endeavor. By using the current infrastructure, we decrease our construction cost giving us a tremendous opportunity to utilize an existing structure for the betterment of our students. Part of the building is already housing the new Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) and Career Center. The Tennessee Board of Regents invested $1.5 million into this project. Both of these entities provide training and job placement for many of our residents as well as students. This is a great way to further educate our adult population as well as place them in our county's workforce.

We've invested $10 million toward the construction of the Expo Center on the grounds of the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. While the Expo Center itself has the potential to bring in a large pot of revenue to the county, its construction alone means just as much. With the Expo Center comes the possibility of more hotels, restaurants and shops. This means more jobs, businesses and revenue for the county. It will also positively affect our interchange as it would be the ideal spot to build these hotels, restaurants and shops.

"The east side of Wilson County has been very patient, now realizing it's our turn for growth with hopes of more businesses, more retail and more industry. With the Expo Center, we should see a lot of very positive things happening on the east side." - District 20 Wilson County Commissioner Annette Stafford

Our Veterans Plaza and future museum are dedicated to our county's veterans, both living and those who have passed on. Its location on the east side currently brings many visitors to the area and will continue to do so in the future. This serves as an opportunity to showcase the "goings-on" in this part of the county. Our Veterans Park brings in people from surrounding counties and even farther. This is a tremendous opportunity to entice them to stay here and encourage others to visit. As tourism to the park increases, so does our economy. Most importantly, this is a way to show our veterans how much we respect and appreciate what they have done for our country.

The county recently sold the water building to the owner and operator of Coffeeconnexion Co. in order to expand his business. Once the planned construction is complete, it will mean more job opportunities in the eastern part of the county. This is also a great opportunity to expand upon existing infrastructure.

University Medical Center has made plans to move the McFarland campus over to the main hospital site. Once this happens, the building that remains will provide opportunity for something new to move in its place adding to the other great things already going on. Once again, with the existing infrastructure, the possibilities are endless as to what could come from this.

"All the things going on east side are a great asset to our community. We need all we can get." - Ward 2 Lebanon City Councilor Fred Burton

So as you can see, there are great things happening on the east side, and there are still more to come. Through continued hard work and perseverance, we can make all four corners of Wilson County desirable places to work and live. Thanks to the county commissioners and especially Commissioners Annette Stafford and Lebanon City Councilman Fred Burton on a job well done for their citizens.

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column, mayor, opinion, Randall Hutto, Wilson County
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