By Scott Robertson
Government and economic development leaders from Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties gathered at the Millennium Centre in Johnson City Thursday to give updates on their efforts, both individually and as a unified region. Working under the umbrella of NETREP, the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, those leaders have been working on various projects aimed at growing the economy of Northeast Tennessee. From items as small as improving the parking at recreational sites to those as large as creating a new building site to eventually host 600 new jobs, no opportunity for cooperative effort was missed.
The leaders wore Appalachian League baseball jerseys as they spoke. They had giant banners and baselines adorning the conference room. They interspersed clips from the movie Field of Dreams between their comments. In short, they drove home the idea that they are all one team. From Jamie Rice, president of RISE (Rejuvenate, Invest, Support, Energize) Erwin, talking about the Erwin Farmers Market’s growth, to Jon Hartman, planning director for the city of Elizabethton, talking about the work of a new Outdoor Task Force to Alicia Summers of NETREP, talking about the progress at the new building site at the Washington County Industrial Park, the central message was that a cooperative effort will help everyone. “At the end of the day, we’re a team,” said Mitch Miller, NETREP CEO, “and that’s what it’s all about.”