Business View Magazine | March 2020

366 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE MARCH 2020 Mason Barnes, Judge Executive of Simpson County, reports, “We currently have two major industrial parks and we’re working on the development of a third. The North Wilkey Park on the north side of Simpson County on Hwy. 31W is at full capacity. And we have two parks on the east side of the county in close proximity to each other – the Sanders East Park is at full capacity and we’re expanding the Henderson Industrial Park, now. There are some facilities already operating in that park and we’re working on a road project and other infrastructure expansion, so we have more space ready there. About 80 percent of the businesses in those parks are automotive-related and major employers for our residents; that being said, roughly two-thirds of the employees at our industrial parks are from out of town.” Kenton Powell, Franklin City Manager, elaborates, “Part of our goal is to diversify and have more of a balance and that’s difficult to do because automotive in this area is really big – Toyota, Honda, Nissan – it’s a sweet spot for all the manufacturing, so we get a lot of automotive- based requests because we’re right on I-65. But if that industry sector takes a downturn, we don’t want all our eggs in one basket. We have an excellent recruiter for our Industrial Authority, but the City of Franklin is very selective about what industry comes in – we don’t accept anything and everything. We want clean industry, obviously, and we’re looking for the best fit for the city.” In the last two years, Franklin has seen a significant increase in residential houses being built, as well as rental properties. In fact, in 2019, the most building permits in recorded history were issued in the city. It’s an exciting turn for the community because it gives people the opportunity to live there instead of commuting. At the moment, the majority of people still drive in to work from the surrounding counties and that does have its benefits. As Barnes relates, “A good number of people that commute into Simpson County spend a lot of dollars in retail;