Area Development
Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. (BMU) just announced that the company will invest $75 million to expand at its site in the Clarksville-Montgomery County (TN) Corporate Business Park. The company's U.S. corporate headquarters for steel cord production is located at this site.

Over the years, BMU has expanded several times in Clarksville, investing a total of $246 million. The company currently has 418 employees, as well as 46 contractors, at the business park. The upcoming expansion will mean an additional 45 jobs for the community and the ability to increase its production capabilities. BMU has an average wage that exceeds the state of Tennessee's per capita income by 40 percent.

"Bridgestone Metalpha has a long and successful history with Clarksville-Montgomery County, and we are proud to be one of the community's top employers. Because of the relationships we have built with the team at the Economic Development Council, we were able to move forward quickly on this project and set the Clarksville location up to be a front-runner in this expansion decision," said Donna Bright, Clarksville plant manager for Bridgestone Metalpha, U.S.A, Inc.

In early 2011, the parent company, Bridgestone Japan, began looking to increase its product capacity at one of its international facilities. However, in order to be globally competitive, the BMU property in Clarksville needed to relocate utilities infrastructure.

In April 2011, this issue was brought to the attention of the Aspire Foundation Board, which was designed as an instrument to encourage and help the community develop economically, according to Aspire Board Chairman Terry Strange. The board voted to provide funds to study the feasibility and engineering costs to move the infrastructure.

This study was a critical first step in making the community competitive in this expansion project. Through the Aspire funded initiative, it was concluded that moving the current infrastructure was not only a viable option, but also a way to "incent" the parent company. The local Montgomery County government committed to provide an infrastructure relocation credit to offset some of the impending costs; the Tennessee ECD brought grant monies to the table to assist in the relocation of the infrastructure; and TVA and Cumberland Electric Membership Corp. (CEMC) also provided project assistance to facilitate this expansion. These grants, along with an aggressive PILOT agreement, will help to countervail the initial costs and will maximize the ability to develop the BMU property.

Clarksville-Montgomery County continues to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation and showed almost a 30 percent increase in population according to the 2010 census. Last year, Clarksville-Montgomery County was the 4th highest ranked for per capita income in the State of Tennessee, with Williamson, Shelby, Davidson (in that order) ranking ahead.