Jefferson County mayor skeptical of megasite

Jefferson County leaders announce plans to pursue a megasite. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

Jefferson County leaders announce plans to pursue a megasite. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT/AP) -- Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri says a proposed industrial megasite should go back to the drawing board.

The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is leading an effort to develop an 1,800-acre tract near interstate routes 40 and 81, saying it could help reduce the county's unemployment rate of 11.7 percent.

Palmieri says he's concerned that taxpayers could be liable for the proposed megasite's $306 million cost.

Others are also skeptical. Jean Wood of the group Save Our Farms and Homes points to a megasite in Clarksville where Hemlock Semiconductor recently announced 300 of the 400 employees were being permanently laid off.

Chamber official Garrett Wagley said only about $2.5 million in county funds would be involved in the Jefferson County site.

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