IDA OKs grant deal for Tryon

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency recently authorized an agreement for disbursement of $75,000 in National Grid grant funds to help market the planned new Tryon business park.

IDA Executive Director James Mraz told his board at the Fort Johnstown Annex his agency was awarded the National Grid grant to pay for 50 percent of the cost of hiring a marketing consultant to prepare a Tryon marketing plan. The IDA owns the Tryon site.

Some of the funding will also go toward an engineering evaluation of the Tryon generator.

“National Grid has asked that a sample agreement be put together between the IDA and Fulton County,” Mraz said.

Mraz said National Grid requested the IDA execute an agreement with the county stating the county will pay for the consultant’s costs upfront. He said the county will invoice the IDA, the IDA will invoice National Grid, National Grid will pay the IDA, and the IDA will reimburse the county.

The draft agreement has been reviewed and approved by IDA attorney Kara Lais.

The IDA and county are working together to develop the 515-acre former Tryon Detention Center site in Perth into a shovel-ready Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

The county’s 2014 capital plan identifies a “Jump Start Fulton County” item to hire a marketing firm to prepare a plan. The IDA’s $75,000 grant under National Grid’s Strategic Economic Development Outreach Program will be used in conjunction with county money to hire a professional marketing firm.

Mraz said Fulton County had distributed requests for proposal for the marketing plan to 21 firms in 13 states nationwide. The marketing firm will be hired April 14 by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors. Five proposals were received – two from Tennessee and one each from Wisconsin, Florida and New Jersey.

The marketing plan will be completed this fall. A marketing campaign will be completed next winter.

Work to be done in the Tryon marketing plan includes preparation of an assessment of the Fulton County region, labor market analysis, targeted industry analysis, marketing materials, business recruitment, and preparation of a website dedicated to Tryon.

Mraz said the new website will be an important tool for marketing Tryon.

“We will try to get the word out so that anyone who has an interest in locating here will have that information available to them,” he said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.