The meetings were with Lebanon and Mt. Juliet city leaders last month. The meetings came after the economic group conducted a survey to gauge the effectiveness and desired future focus of the group from Wilson County cities.
“I think they were good meetings. I think there were a lot of communication lines opened up,” said board member Rob Porter.
Porter said the meetings were also an opportunities to establish an understanding about the group’s tasks and focus for business development in Wilson County.
The group said retail and white-collar jobs became the focus of the meetings with the city officials.
“It was a lot of discussion on jobs and we got into white-collar and office jobs, and that seemed to be the mission of the group,” Porter said about the Lebanon meeting.
“I think from the Lebanon meeting, their interest is in professional development. I think Lebanon is our bell cow for industrial things we want to do,” said G.C. Hixson, Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development executive director.
Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash discussed the meeting in February.
“I mentioned retail, because we see a lot of places for retail to grow. I know they mostly do industrial and that type of thing. Since we have a lot of space on South Hartmann Drive and Legends Drive and Cumberland Center, we talked a little bit about what they could do to help us with that,” Ash said. “Some of the councilmen mentioned we were interested in office space built and white-collar jobs coming to Lebanon.”
Phil Smartt, Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development treasurer, said the Mt. Juliet meeting featured a similar focus.
“Rob asked [Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty], which I thought was one of the most interesting things, a point blank question. Do you or do you not want more industrial distribution here? He said absolutely not,” Smartt said.
Porter said the Mt. Juliet meeting bridged a gap between the group and some commissioners about the details of the Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development Board.
“I thought [the meetings] served the purpose we hoped they would serve,” Porter said.