New sign dresses industrial park

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By Cindy Simpson

The Roane County Industrial Park in Rockwood has a fresh look.
The improvements, including a new sign, are meant to encourage new industry to the area and to show existing industries they are important to the community.
A partnership between Harriman Utility Board, Rockwood Electric Utility and TVA paid for the new sign that sits just off Hwy. 27.
“Harriman Utility Board and Rockwood Electric Utility shared the cost of the design, and TVA covered the cost of the construction. They are very good partners to us in our economic development efforts,” said Roane Alliance CEO Leslie Henderson.
Rockwood used part of its appropriation from the TVA reparations for the Kingston Fossil Plant ash spill to pave its section of the roadway from the park entrance.
Nearby city-owned property could someday be sold to developers, according to Rockwood Mayor James Watts.
“What we’re hoping is by having a better-looking sign, having a nice road, doing some landscaping work, that we can attract industry,” Watts said.
Henderson said the utilities are expected to spend a certain amount each year on economic development efforts.
Henderson said the sign cost roughly $10,000.
“The design was over and above that,” she added.
“I think the celebration really is (about) how well we all came together to work on the park,” Henderson said.
“What we’re trying to do is to do anything we can to help market the park effectively,” said John Harenza, project manager with Economic Development, Northeast Valley Region.
Henderson said they felt the sign was important because it sent a message.
“The other sign was dated. We wanted to give it kind of a fresh look,” said Henderson.
First impressions are an important thing when marketing to industries, according to Henderson. Showing thanks to the existing industries is also important.
“We want to show the industries here also that we care about what they are doing here to give them a nice sign,” Henderson said.