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Economic Development Progress in Carter County

Last Sunday I shared with you what economic development looks like and shared with you information about the State of Tennessee Economic and Community Development Team. It is with delight that I share with you this week that your Carter County Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development Team has great news of progress. We have been working diligently to try to bring another hotel to our County. With Sycamore Shoals and Roan Mountain State Parks seeing several hundred thousand combined visitors each year, we need to ensure that those non-resident visitors stay in Carter County instead of going to neighboring counties to find a hotel.

With the research and contacts made by my staff, and with the wonderful support of Mr. Rob Toney and the Elizabethton Electric System and in collaboration with our new Joint Economic and Community Development Board, the Growth Services Group (GSG), a national workforce intelligence and consulting firm, has been contracted with this week to conduct a Hotel Feasibility Study for the community. This Market Study provides a demographic and economic overview of the subject area to determine the overall feasibility of a new greenfield hotel development. The purpose of this Market Study is to estimate the perceived demand and to estimate financial performance of a new hotel in Carter County.

GSG will analyze market conditions, economic and demographic factors, and site conditions to determine their impact on a potential project. GSG will utilize both primary and secondary data sources to analyze the subject area’s demand for additional rooms. Research will also include local interviews with area representatives from a variety of public and private sector organizations. The Report will include primary data and input regarding the overall f

easibility of the project today and will analyze the potential for future growth in demand in the subject area.

The GSG Market Feasibility Study Report will address the estimated operating performance of a potential project and will provide recommendations as to the size and scope of the potential development. The report provides prospective owners, investors, operators and lenders with a snapshot of the overall feasibility of the potential project based on market conditions at the time of the study.

It is important for our community to ascertain the needs of our local businesses to ensure we are providing the necessary accommodations to support their efforts. Many of our larger employers require sleeping accommodations to host out of town employees, vendors and customers as well as the need for additional space for meetings, training, etc. There is corporate and commercial demand in our area and it is important that we have more hotels and that they provide safe and clean accommodations that include the necessary technology to meet the needs of our County’s visitors and guests. If not, the County and our local merchants will lose hotel stays and subsequent guest spending to other Counties in the region, including losing visitors across the state line.

Once completed, the Feasibility Study will be used to evaluate market demand and attract new investments as necessary. My staff has been in contact with several major hotel chains who have expressed interest in working with their developers and investors to build a new hotel in Carter County. An industry recognized consultant Hotel Feasibility Study which reports positively that the County is a good candidate is absolutely required before a chain will make a substantial multi-million dollar investment to build a new hotel. We are optimistic that the Study, which may take approximately 60-90 days to complete, will come back positive. Once the Study is received from the consultant, my office will share it with the public on the County’s website and in a news release. If the Study comes back positive, my staff will begin working closely with the interested hotel chains, their developers and investors, County Commission, City Council and Planners, to make the construction of a new hotel in Carter County a reality.

My office is working on this and many other Economic and Community Development projects and will have more progress reports to share with you in the very near future!

Please feel free to contact me at or by phone at 423-542-1801 if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance to you. My office is located at 801 East Elk Avenue, Suite 201 located in the County Courthouse in Elizabethton. I have an open door policy and everyone is always welcome.

Leon Humphrey

Carter County Mayor

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