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The Year of Volkswagen: Roane Alliance calls center top '12 project

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To The Roane Alliance — and to many across Roane County — 2012 will be remembered as the year of the Volkswagen Distribution Center project, The Alliance’s newly released annual report said.

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“The VW project was certainly the biggest project we have landed for our community in recent memory and will no doubt have a significant impact on Roane County for years to come,” The Roane Alliance President/CEO Leslie Henderson said in an introductory letter in the report.

“We at the Alliance worked it hard for nearly two years — along with a huge dedicated team of public officials, volunteers and supporters — and beat out a field of nearly 50 other communities across the country,” she added. “The announcement was the culmination of a long and painstakingly-detailed effort.”

But 2012 was also a year of many other accomplishments. It was, Henderson said in the report, “our busiest and most productive year ever.”

“The year 2012 was also, though, a year of many other accomplishments for Roane County and the partners of The Roane Alliance, as we consistently continue to come through the slow recovery a little easier than most of our neighbors, thanks to the strength of our existing industrial and commercial sector, and the continuing hard work and dedication of The Alliance staff, volunteers and board members.”

Among highlights of the report released last week at an Alliance board meeting:
• Roane’s unemployment rate continued to beat the state’s and the nation’s averages, hovering at or below 7 percent throughout the year.
• Roane’s per-capita income continued to climb, putting Roane now at 15th highest in Tennessee.
• Seventy-nine new retail jobs were created as two new retailers opened their doors after being recruited by Alliance staff.
• More than 100 high school graduates — 60 of them the first in their families to ever attend college — enrolled in community colleges last fall as a result of just one of The Alliance’s many successful Education Matters! programs.
•  Tourists spent $64.6 million in Roane County, according to the state’s newest numbers — an 8.1-percent increase over the previous year.

These and more accomplishments are included in the Alliance’s 2012 Annual Report, which Henderson said is a combination of a “snapshot of Roane County’s economy” and an in-depth view of some of the Alliance’s “most active and successful programming.”

The full report can be seen on the Roane Alliance’s website at www.RoaneAlliance.org/report
The Roane Alliance is Roane County's economic development organization and consists of both public and private organizations, including the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, the Roane County Industrial Development Board and the Roane County Visitors Bureau.