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Bradley Co. Commissioner questions progress at industrial park site

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

For nearly two years, Bradley County leaders have been working on a plan to create thousands of jobs. It began with the building of an industrial park just off I-75, on APD 40. But development has been delayed. Now, one commissioner is questioning the progress and when the investment will pay off.

The recent heavy rain has washed away rock dams put in at the site, with all that runoff going into a nearby creek. County Commissioner Ed Elkins says that is not an excuse for delayed progress.

"I'm trying to represent the people in my district because they've been abused in my opinion," says Ed Elkins.

Bradley County Commissioner Ed Elkins represents district one, where a 260 acre industrial park is being built along Exit 20 on I-75.

"Most of the commissioners, and myself, in fact, if not all of the commissioners that voted to support the project, had faith that the people overseeing the project would do what they said they would do," says Elkins.

He says since July, progress has slowed. He showed Channel 3 where rock check dams have washed away from the heavy rains. The runoff flows into Brymer Creek.

"It looks like the City of Cleveland is flushing their progress down our creek again," a resident said in a YouTube video from July.

"I think if they would have put some of the safeguards in place early on, they would not have had to come back in and re-do them," says Elkins.  

"There's no need to throw anybody under the bus with this thing," says Steve Williams.

Steve William's construction company was hired to oversee the project. He says because TDOT is tied to the project, it has to undergo rigorous inspections. TDEC has already stepped in saying a better drainage system must be built.

"It's got to go through engineers. It's got to go through city and county and TDEC and it just takes a while to make that circle," says Williams.

Williams says most of the complaints are coming from those who are "against growth."

Elkins says the commission already approved money being re-directed from the northern portion of the project to the south end. He just hopes the originally estimated $4 million project, which has already jumped to $4.7 million, does not keep bleeding money.

"My concern is will there be enough money in there now to do that job and what problems might they run into?" asks Elkins.

Elkins says the county is really an investor in the project, splitting the cost with the city, which oversees the project. Cleveland was going to face a daily fine of $2,500 if the erosion problems were not corrected. An official with the city says it submitted a correction plan to TDEC to put in a concrete drainage system and that was approved. Now it has 45 days to get it done.

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