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City and County Stand on Firm Economic Ground
Last week, Governor Bill Lee presented his State of the State address, outlining where Tennessee stands economically as a result of the pandemic and giving us a vision for what tomorrow holds. Contrary to what many might think, Tennessee is on solid ground. In fact, according to the Governor, we are one in only seven states that experienced positive economic growth in 2020.
That’s great for the state as a whole, but what does that mean for Lawrenceburg/Lawrence County you might ask. While I’m not going to paint a completely rosy picture and communicate that everyone in Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County is thriving, because that isn’t the case. There are individuals in our community who are struggling as a result of COVID-19, and we need to be mindful of the difficulties some of our neighbors are experiencing and lend a helping hand when we can. However, overall, Lawrenceburg’s and Lawrence County’s economy is as strong as ever.
To prove my point, more than 200 new business licenses were granted in Lawrenceburg in 2020, with seven of those new businesses locating on our historic square. Lawrenceburg Utility Systems installed 274 new meters last year. That is a marked increase over 2019’s 135 new meter installations. Our labor force has increased from 17,606 in 2016 to 19,937 today, and at least 384 new jobs are coming to our community over the next five years.
Lawrenceburg has a new 64-room Best Western Plus that just recently opened north of town on Highway 43 and is gaining momentum with nightly guests and getting rave reviews. This gives our visitors an additional lodging option when their stay keeps them in town overnight and opens doors for increased local sales tax revenue.
Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center (STHEC) is in its final construction phase. Sod is being put down, and the finishing touches to the building are being finalized. It’s a beautiful building that stands as a testament to the strength and partnership in this community. We’re excited about it becoming the new home of Columbia State and Tennessee Tech, seeing lots of cars in the parking lot and watching students fill the halls. And once the proposed merger between the University of Tennessee System and Martin Methodist College is complete, UT Southern will join our STHEC family. This joint effort with three of the greatest institutions in Tennessee will create infinite educational possibilities and opportunities that will generate positive change and transform lives right here at home as well as across the entire southern Middle Tennessee region.
As we move forward into a bright future, let’s look to the past as only a place of reference, embrace every day with gratitude and keep our eyes looking ahead to tomorrow.