Tryon projects being studied

JOHNSTOWN – A visit to the area last month by an international site selector may have spurred new Fulton County government capital projects for the proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

Michael Mullis, founder of J.M. Mullis, Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., assessed Fulton and Montgomery counties Sept. 5-6.

Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz recently reviewed Mullis’ recommendations regarding the Tryon facility with the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee at the County Office Building.

Mullis recommended four steps be taken regarding the Tryon site. They were: conduct a targeted industries study, create a regional business training center, secure a backup generator, and rename Tryon.

Mraz said Thursday the panel liked what they saw concerning Mullis’ suggestions for the Tryon park, which is being developed between the county and the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency.

“They felt those were excellent recommendations,” said Mraz, executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency.

Mraz said the regional labor analysis would identify skills, training and educational levels for the existing labor force within a 45-minute drive. The area’s labor costs would also be compared to other regions of the state and United States. The study would also look at the existing transportation system’s proximity to rail, a commercial airport and the interstate highway system.

In addition, Mraz said the study will evaluate utilities, water and sewer, and conduct a comparative cost of living analysis of this region to other regions.

The business training center would identify training needs of existing businesses in the region, discuss training needs with Fulton-Montgomery Community College and the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and develop a training program.

Mraz said an engineering evaluation would have to be conducted before installing the back-up generator. The evaluation would identify a full description of the generator, and specify how it could provide back-up power to businesses located at Tryon. The evaluation also would develop an electrical layout plan consistent with the site plan.

The committee directed the Planning Department to prepare and submit 2014 capital project requests for the Tryon initiatives. Mraz said requests will include possible pricing for the projects.

The IDA is currently trying to secure the deed for the former Tryon Detention Center property from the state so the incubator conversion can begin. The property has several buildings, utilities, and encompasses more than 500 acres in the towns of Perth and Johnstown.

Mraz noted Mullis said the former Tryon site represents one of the best potential sites for business development he’s ever seen.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at