Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 12, 2013

Business expansion on city agenda

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — The Crossville City Council will consider a proposal that would assist a local industry in expanding its workforce when the council meets tonight.

CoLinx, which offers global ecommerce services and North American logistics from seven locations in the U.S. and Canada, needs more space to continue to serve its owners, and has proposed expanding the Crossville warehouse location, adding up to 65 full-time jobs. The company would like to build on to its current location on Genesis Rd., but has encountered problems with storm water and wetland management, adding $1 million to the cost of an expansion.

The business has requested a FastTrack Infrastructure assistance to help mitigate costs for storm water management infrastructure, stream diversion pipe, a fire protection access road, Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program in lieu of fees and fencing and signage for a permanent conservation easement for the wetland mitigation site.

The city has been working with the company to secure the funds, but there will be a required local match. If the city applies for the grant, the local match is 36 percent, of which CoLinx would pay two-thirds of the cost and the city the remaining third paid for by the city. If Cumberland County were the applicant, that local match is only 25 percent, a savings of $117,000 on the $1.06 million project.

The city proposes it prepare the application for the county and serve as administrator and provide all local match money, unless the county would like to share the costs with the city on a 50-50 basis.

CoLinx employs 745 people in Crossville, with 1.6 million hours of labor paid in 2012.

"Our Crossville management is fighting hard to retain and expand the jobs in Tennessee," wrote Don Louis, CEO of CoLinx, in a letter to Mayor J.H. Graham III. "After trying to expand the facility since August 2012, we still do not have state or federal permits or commitments for any assistance from the state or local government."

CoLinx has lease agreements with Crossville through 2017, but the expansion would extend that to 2027. Without the requested assistance from the state, Louis said CoLinx would need to re-evaluate where it would expand operations and the future of the Crossville location, adding the facility in Crossville requires frequent repairs, and medical costs and wages paid in Crossville exceed the costs for most companies who provide warehousing services.

"The decisions made by government officials in the next 30 days will determine whether or not CoLinx will contribute another $600 million to the economy of Tennessee between now and 2027. A firm commitment for an investment of $1 million in exchange for $600 million is what we are asking for," Louis wrote.

The city will also consider action on a property acquisition for another company experiencing continuing growth. TLD Logistics Services, Inc., is looking to add 5.4 acres to its property in Interchange Park, just north of Interstate 40 on Hwy. 127. The city proposes furnishing a culvert between the new and existing property, per Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation rules, and an approved TDEC construction permit for grading the site and a finished gravel lot. The city also commits to working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to add a traffic signal at the industrial park entrance.

The purchase price for the property is $250,000, but the city will credit the company for the minimum of 25 new employees to be hired within one year, bringing the purchase price to $125,000. TLD Logistics also commits to building a 10,000-square-foot facility on their property.

In other business, the council will consider an amendment of the budget for new City Hall renovations, changes to subdivision regulations and specifications for a new retirement plan.

The council will also consider bids for concession stands, mowing, janitorial services and fertilizer for parks and recreation and an ordinance amendment to allow for an indoor shooting range.