A solid transportation network helps steer this East Tennessee region's smart growth.
Many people know about the beauty of Blount County, bordered on the east by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and on the west by a chain of shimmering lakes created by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Besides attractive scenery, the county has many other assets, as well, including a strong transportation network. The highway system in and around Blount County includes the convenience of Interstate 140 and U.S. Routes 129, 321, 411 and 441, which make it easier to get around the region. In addition, I-140 easily links to I-40, I-75 and I-81 to give Blount access to 76% of major markets within a day’s drive.
The region’s transportation network is also being upgraded, including a 4.4-mile extension of State Route 162 (Pellissippi Parkway). Tennessee Department of Transportation officials say the extension will create a northwest/east connection between Alcoa and Maryville to expand residential development, and it will increase demand for trips between the two cities as well as to Knoxville to the north.
Did You Know?
76% of the nation’s major markets are within a day’s drive of Blount County.
Rail, Air and River Keep Blount County Flowing
Other transportation assets include two Class I rail carriers and the navigable Tennessee River. Companies that ship by rail and/or barge can often incur lower transportation costs while still efficiently reaching their customers.
Blount County is home to McGhee Tyson Airport, located within the city limits of Alcoa and serving as the principal commercial airport for East Tennessee. One of the companies that does business on the grounds of McGhee Tyson Airport is Cirrus Aircraft, which designs and delivers personal jets, equipment and flight training sessions for customers all over the world.
“It is easy to do business here in Blount County. It’s a great place for our employees and our families to live and work.”
Stephen Deucker/Cirrus Aircraft
“Everyone in Blount County has been leaning forward and wanting us to be successful,” says Stephen Deucker, Cirrus Aircraft vice president and general manager. “We have tremendous partners and relationships with a ‘can-do’ attitude, from the Blount County Partnership, local government, the airport and residents.”
Having McGhee Tyson as the region’s airport makes it easy for passengers to travel into Knoxville by either a direct flight or a single connection from virtually anywhere in the U.S.
“It is easy to do business here in Blount County. It’s a great place for our employees and our families to live and work,” he says. “An additional bonus is that we are finding and attracting top talent.”
Upgraded Infrastructure Fuels Projects
Along with a strong transportation sector, Blount County has upgraded its infrastructure and facilities to make the region attractive for business investment. For example, located near the cities of Alcoa and Maryville will be Pellissippi Place, a mixed-use community now under development whose goal will be to foster technology-focused research and development businesses.
Springbrook Farm, a mixed-use planned development in Alcoa, will consist of a retail lifestyle center, multifamily residential space, commercial office space and a hotel. The project is being constructed on 350 acres that formerly housed the Alcoa West Plant site.
“That site was decommissioned in 1989 and sat idle for decades, and many entities over the years have looked at making the property viable and sustainable once again,” says Jeremy Pearson, City of Alcoa planning director. “Now, about 265 of the 350 acres will be transformed into an amazing development near North Hall Road and the U.S. 129 Bypass.”
As for housing, plans are in the works for single-family houses, multifamily homes, townhouses, apartments and a senior citizen assisted living facility. “Blount County is becoming a high-growth area,” Pearson says. “Springbrook Farm is putting Alcoa in good position for excellent smart growth.”