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Farley: Admires Clay County’s Scrappy, Active Approach To Defining Itself

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Farley: Admires Clay County’s Scrappy, Active Approach To Defining Itself

UCHRA’s Executive Director said Clay County’s scrappy, active approach gives it the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive.

Mark Farley served as guest speaker at the county’s Chamber Of Commerce Annual Dinner Thursday night. The dinner included a meeting of the joint economic and community development board.

Farley said the key to success includes being proactive. For example, Farley urged county leaders to take advantage of the state’s proposed school funding formula.

“The state is getting ready to put a lot of money into public education,” Farley said. “Your school system is about to have more money than they’ve had in the past. Don’t use that as an opportunity to say, ‘well, we can save money from the county level if they’re getting more money from the state level.’ You need to match that investment. You need to put more money into that system because the stronger it is, the stronger this community is.”

Farley said education is the centerpiece in communities across the state where children enjoy a good quality of life.

Farley also urged citizens and business leaders to begin the conversation now about the widening and expansion of Highway 56 from Celina to Interstate 40 as a way to promote business growth.

“That’s not going to happen overnight, that’s a 20, that’s a 30 year battle,” Farley said. “You’ve got to start leading that effort today for Clay County to improve and for Gainesboro. 56 has got to be widened all the way through.”

Calling Dale Hollow Lake and the county’s rivers one of its greatest assets, Farley said the county needs to be ready to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves as Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville residents look to this region as a playground.

“You’ve got to be ready to move when that opportunity comes,” Farley said. “You see so much stuff in entertainment around the lake. They come up here to have fun. We’re their backyard. You need to be ready when that next opportunity comes. You can’t wait. You need to be preparing for that opportunity today.”

These kinds of basic questions, according to Farley, center around one question: “what does Clay County need to do to take the next step?”

Chamber of Commerce Director Doug Young said the leadership wanted attendees of the dinner to walk away knowing more about where the county stood. He said conducting the regular meeting of the JECD Board during the dinner would provide that insight.

County Mayor Dale Reagan said there is a lot of work going on trying to make the county a better place to live while also making it more attractive to prospective residents and businesses.


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