October 3, 2018
By Marlana Ward
The September meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners saw a large turnout of those in the agricultural community as the group of officials approved plans to construct a new facility for use by local organizations. The unanimous vote was the culmination of two years of research and discussion by county groups and officials.While no official time frame is available for the construction of the facility, the commitment from the county to move forward with the project has been a major move towards the manifestation of plans and ideas.
“We’ve been planning for the Ag. Center for the past couple of years,” said Rick Thomason, County Director & Extension Agent III with the UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension Office.
When asked about why the agricultural community has sought the construction of an Ag Center, Thomason answered: “Because we don’t have a facility to host large groups for educational meetings and events for farmers and youth (4-H & FFA). Agriculture has a tremendous economic impact on our county. According to a recent study conducted by the University of TN Ag Economics Department, agriculture has an economic impact in Johnson County of $191.2 million, while 1,149 jobs are generated.”
As currently proposed, the new handicapped-accessible facility is planned to include a seating capacity of around 200, banquet style tables and chairs to use for meal functions and award programs, state of the art audio-visual equipment to use for presentations, and kitchen and bathroom facilities. As discussed, the building will be open to be used by county groups and organizations.
“It will be available to all organizations in the county through reservations,” said Thomason.
The Ag Center will be built on a parcel of land located along Highway 67 across from the entrance to the county transfer station. Officials chose this location due to the property already being owned by the county. The reported cost for the facility will is approximately $500,000.
“We either have applied for will be applying for funding through the TN Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development Community Development funds, and Farm Credit,” Thomason explained. “In addition, we will be seeking grants from other state and federal agencies along with local funding sources such as Farm Bureau. It should be noted that by tapping into these funding sources, the
Ag Center will not affect the tax rate in Johnson County.”
Thomason expressed his appreciation to those in the community as the project has been pursued, “I app
reciate the support we have received for the Ag. Center and look forward to this dream becoming a reality for our county.”