County looks to ‘jump start’ Tryon plan

JOHNSTOWN – As part of the new “Jump Start Fulton County” economic development initiative, officials on Tuesday proposed distribution of requests for proposal to create a marketing plan for the former Tryon Detention Center site.

The state recently transferred ownership of the 515-acre site on County Highway 107 in the town of Perth to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. The IDA plans to redevelop it into a proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center, with shovel-ready sites.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development-Environment Committee authorized distribution of RFPs for a Tryon marketing plan Tuesday at the County Office Building. The full board must take final action Feb. 10.

“This is a key component of the ‘Jump Start Fulton County’ initiative,” county Planning Director James Mraz told the committee.

Mraz, also IDA executive director, said a “comprehensive” marketing plan for the site was recommended by international site selector Michael Mullis when he visited Fulton and Montgomery counties in September. The 2014 county capital budget contains $75,000 to hire a marketing firm to prepare the Tryon plan.

The IDA has been awarded a $75,000 grant under National Grid’s Strategic Economic Development Outreach Program to use in conjunction with county funds to hire a professional marketing firm.

Mraz said he has a list of 18 firms from across the United States to send requests for proposals to.

“This is a big-time evaluation we’re going to do,” he stated.

Mraz said the RFP will ask marketing firms to submit cost proposals to: prepare a comprehensive marketing plan, implement a targeting marketing campaign and prepare materials.

“It’s a big, exciting project,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said of the Tryon redevelopment.

A physical project is also being done that includes 2,500 feet of new road; 3,900 feet of new waterline; 600 feet of new sanitary sewer line; repairs of an electrical system and pump; and construction of a stormwater collection system.

Mraz said marketing RFPs will be due March 5, with a marketing firm to be hired April 14. The marketing plan will be completed this fall, with completion of a direct marketing campaign next winter.