Move forward with plans

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The start of the build-out construction project for the Franklin Business Incubator has been delayed several times since the year started, but now the state Department of Housing and Community Development is calling for the project to get started.

The build-out has been held up because of uncertainty involving International Paper Co. and the elusive answers to two questions:

First, will the company move about 35 customer service jobs to the fourth floor of the Incubator? Local elected and economic officials are passionate in their common desire to keep the jobs here. We would like to see that happen too, since those employees live in our community.

Second, if IP does move the jobs to the Incubator, what will that mean in terms of the number of jobs that will need to be created in order to satisfy the terms of the grant money that will pay for the build-out of the building in the first place?

If IP doesn’t come, the Incubator needs to find 40 full-time and 37 part-time jobs to put under its roof within the next two years. But if IP does come, then it is anybody’s guess as to how many more jobs are needed.

To have the construction work held up for two months is a little unsettling. The build-out needs to occur, whether IP is a part of it or not.

We hope the work will begin in earnest at the beginning of March and be completed safely and on budget.