America’s Designated Sites Eliminate Business Complexity and Cost | Trade and Industry Development

America’s Designated Sites Eliminate Business Complexity and Cost

Jun 17, 2024 | By: Tracey Schelmetic

Business development today can be a costly and complicated process. Inflation, supply chain shortages, work delays, labor shortages and more have made development even more difficult.

Designated sites – those on which key work and permitting has already been completed for the purpose of industrial development – can take a great deal of pain out of the process. These sites that are already proximal to utilities and telecommunications and have completed most of the administrative work and permitting. The result is a ready-to-go site that is simply waiting for a business with a new vision. Following are some highlights of designated sites around the United States.

Dodge City, Kansas

Image courtesy of Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation.
Image courtesy of Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation.

In Kansas, the Dodge City Business Park certified site is a 245-acre business park that has been verified for the necessary criteria for industrial development. The Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation was the first organization to complete the site certification process through the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation Certified Sites Program. Since then, the site has also been certified by the Kansas Department of Commerce and BNSF.

“I am excited to have the Dodge City Business Park certified as an approved, developable site under all of these programs,” said Joann Knight, Executive Director for the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. “The thoroughness of their processes brings great credibility to our site and community. Our community has been very successful in bringing partners and resources together to ensure that we have a very bright and strong economy now and into the future.

In recent years, Dodge City and Ford County have seen substantial growth in their agriculture and beef processing facilities as well as small manufacturing and service industries. Current economic development projects include Hilmar Cheese, which will open in October 2024, expansions to National Beef and Cargill Meat Solutions, a new FedEx Ground facility, several new wind and solar projects and continued major investments in housing developments.

For more information, contact Joann Knight at or 800-381-3690.

Goochland County, Virginia

Goochland County, VA Image courtesy of Goochland County.
Goochland County, VA  Image courtesy of Goochland County.

Discover why businesses are moving to Goochland County, Virginia. Nestled in the heart of Virginia, Goochland provides a thriving community, picturesque landscapes and unmatched quality of life for residents and businesses alike. Goochland County is situated just 20 miles northwest of the state capital, Richmond. With a great transportation network, Goochland County has four major interchanges along I-64, easy access to Route 288, and is minutes from I-295 and I-95. Goochland County offers a business-friendly climate with the lowest real estate tax in the region. Goochland is also financially strong, being the smallest county in the nation with the coveted triple-triple bond rating. With three Fortune 500 companies, it is no wonder businesses are moving to Goochland County.

1990 Ashland Road is a premier site for businesses seeking a blank canvas for a custom build. This Tier 4 Virginia Business Ready Certified site has the potential for up to one million square feet of building on 78 developable acres. The entire site is zoned M-2 Industrial General and totals 105 acres with water and sewer onsite. The site is located less than a quarter mile from Interstate 64, enabling access to I-95, Richmond International Airport and Richmond Port. More than 50 percent of the U.S. population can be reached in 24 hours from the site.

For more information visit:

Hancock County, Mississippi

Hancock County MS Image courtesy of Hancock County Port Commission
Hancock County MS Image courtesy of Hancock County Port Commission

Located in Hancock County, Mississippi, Stennis International Airport is driving the aviation industry along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The airport’s largest tenant is Tyonek, a native corporation, which provides maintenance and repair services for the United States military. In January 2024, Skydweller Aero, an emerging aviation company building long-endurance aircraft, chose Stennis International Airport for its flight test operations center and aircraft modification facility.

Pearl River Community College’s Aviation Academy is set to welcome students in August 2024. The new campus adjacent to Stennis International Airport will bring new programs including Aviation Maintenance, Unmanned Systems Technology, Hydrography Technology and Instrumentation Technology.

Stennis International Airport is developing a 20-acre technology park adjacent to the terminal. In 2020, the technology park master plan was developed to provide expansion opportunities for current airport tenants and pad-ready sites for light industrial manufacturing. Since 2020, the airport has completed the full environmental permitting process required by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Additionally, Stennis International Airport has received more than $6 million in grant funding to construct a 10,000-square-foot office building as the first phase of development. The airport has received an additional $2 million in grants to construct two pad-ready sites for light manufacturing.

For additional information, call Obie McClure at the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission at 228-467-9231 or visit

Johnston County, North Carolina

Johnston County, NC Image courtesy of Johnston County Economic Development
Johnston County, NC Image courtesy of Johnston County Economic Development

We’ve all heard the rap on rural communities: low labor costs but also low labor quality. That’s not the case in Johnston County, where civic, business and educational leaders work together to invest vigorously in workforce readiness.

Ground was broken recently on a $35 million Advanced Manufacturing Training Center near I-95. Once complete, the 67,000-square-foot building will house workforce programs designed with input from new and expanding industries in collaboration with educators at Johnston Community College (JCC). With its inspiring design and modern instructional technologies, the center will attract residents from across the region seeking the skills and credentials today’s manufacturers need.

This is not the first time Johnston County has been successful in such an endeavor. In 2004, county officials joined JCC in creating the Johnston County Workforce Development Center in the county’s western edge. That 30,000-square-foot facility operates in partnership with Novo Nordisk and Grifols, which provide proprietary equipment for a simulated bio-manufacturing floor where new hires prep for production tasks after only a few weeks of training. The model has since been widely replicated across North Carolina.

Johnston County knows that people ultimately drive the success of every business. That means equipping workers with the knowledge necessary to add measurable value to today’s economy.

McKenzie, Tennessee

McKenzie, TN Image courtesy of McKenzie Industrial Development Corporation.
McKenzie, TN Image courtesy of McKenzie Industrial Development Corporation.

McKenzie is strategically located in the eastern United States within a day’s drive of half the nation’s population and manufacturing employment. It is also strategically positioned amid the growing metro areas of Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, which are both two hours away.

McKenzie’s pad-ready site is 7.2 acres of shovel-ready land certified by the Tennessee Economic and Community Development. It has a new industrial access road. The McKenzie, Tennessee
Industrial Park South has 61.4 acres of developable real estate.

Carroll County Electric has a substation in the park, and West Tennessee Public Utilities (WTPU), supplies natural gas. WTPU connects to a major cross-country natural gas tap in nearby Gleason. Two cross-country taps service the local gas supplier. WTPU is equipped to provide gas to a heavy natural gas user. The city of McKenzie provides water and wastewater to the industrial park. A standpipe is in the park to supply needed water pressure and flow.

The site is adjacent to Carroll County Airport-KHZD, a county-owned facility. The asphalt runway is 5,500 feet by 100 feet and has navigation lighting, aviation fuel 100LL and Jet A. The terminal is attended during the day, and hangars and tie-downs are available. A medical helicopter and the Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter use the facility as an aviation base.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is improving the intersection to State Route 22, a four-lane divided highway. McKenzie has two major highways, U.S. 79 and State Route 22, serving the area, providing travel east, west, and north and south.

The site is a Select TN Certified Site. The program sets rigorous standards to provide companies with detailed and reliable information during the site selection process. The certification process ensures that each certified site meets high-quality standards and is primed for development. In addition, TN Certified Sites must have documented environmental conditions and geotechnical analysis, existing onsite utilities (or a formal plan to extend utilities to the site) and truck-quality road access.

For more information, contact McKenzie Industrial Development Corporation at 731-352-2004.

Northwest Florida

Northwest Florida Image courtesy of Opportunity Florida
Northwest Florida  Image courtesy of Opportunity Florida

Opportunity Florida is the regional economic development alliance for 10 rural counties in Northwest Florida. Rural Florida is different than Rural America: its communities are within one hour of any metro area and close to commercial airports, major amenities, research universities and hospitals. Lower cost of real estate plus expedited permitting in smaller bureaucracies get product flowing more quickly from new facilities.

Seven sites certified by Quest Solutions border the Interstate 10 corridor to afford great logistics for products and supply chains.

Anchored by Family Dollar Distribution Services, Jackson County Distribution Services Park has 237 acres available for development. Just north of this park is Endeavor Commerce Site with 128 acres ready to go. One exit east on I-10 is Spanish Trail Commerce Park with 182 acres and seven miles north of I-10 is Marianna
Airport Commerce Park (perfect for aviation-related facilities).

Twenty minutes west is a featured rail park of 181 acres (Washington County) and at exit 112 is Holmes I-10 Park of 160 acres with interstate frontage for branding support. Defiant Springs Municipal Airport also provides 56 acres ready for aviation support.

With a strong labor draw from NW Florida and Southern Alabama, workforce and training support is available to meet employment needs in the northwest Florida Rural Area of Opportunity known as Opportunity Florida. Call 850- 633-4119 or visit for more information.

Odessa, Texas

Odessa, TX Image courtesy of Odessa Development Corporation.
Odessa, TX  Image courtesy of Odessa Development Corporation.

When hydraulic fracking giant Liberty Energy began looking for its expansion location, CEO Chris Wright knew the property had to check several important boxes. Liberty needed a prime work site with room for growth, a supportive business environment and a skilled local workforce, plus easy access to highways, railways and interstates. Only one place had it all: Odessa, Texas.

“Liberty is excited about this new $50 million facility,” Wright said. “We are in the business of bettering human lives, and there is no better place to make that happen than in Odessa, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin.”

Located in Odessa’s Leeco Industrial Park, the project includes a massive shop, truck wash, 50,000-square-foot warehouse and offices. Wright expects to employ 1,500 people there.

In addition to Liberty’s $50 million investment, Odessa Development Corporation awarded the company a five-year agreement with a $2.5 million grant.

“We are focused on investment in this community,” ODC Board President Kris Crow said. “We want to help companies in any way that we can, whether that is helping locate building sites to funding infrastructure to other tax incentives, Odessa is open for business.”

Tom Manskey, Odessa Chamber of Commerce economic development director, added that there are plentiful local and state economic development incentives available, with land, sites and buildings to match every business need.

Richland, Washington

Richland, WA Image courtesy of Port of Benton
Richland, WA  Image courtesy of Port of Benton

At the northern edge of Richland, Washington lies a beacon of innovation and sustainability: the Northwest Advanced Clean Energy Park (NACEP). The 1,641 acres of land set aside for the development of the NACEP is a pivotal location focused on furthering the ambitious goal of achieving a net-zero economy.

Richland’s location in southeastern Washington boasts a skilled workforce with engineering, renewable energy, nuclear energy and environmental sciences expertise. Additionally, Richland offers robust infrastructure and access to key markets, enabling efficient transportation and distribution. Its supportive business environment and collaborative ecosystem further enhance its attractiveness.

Ninety-three percent of the power supply comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power. This abundant supply of renewable energy serves the NACEP, making it attractive to companies focused on sustainability and developing and manufacturing cutting-edge technologies. Explore the opportunities at the Northwest Advanced Clean Energy Park and be part of a transformative journey toward a cleaner, more sustainable future. For more information, visit T&ID

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