In the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams,” a lot of people believe the famous quote is “If you build it, they will come.”
It’s about a man receiving a cryptic message to build a baseball field in a cornfield to be used by a bunch of dead baseball players.
The quote is actually “If you build it, he will come.”
Nevertheless, the quote applies to the dilemma officials are facing with the Memphis Regional Megasite, a 4,100-acre piece of land in Haywood County that is designed for industrial development. It’s located 14 miles from Covington near Interstate 40.
According to multiple media reports, Gov. Bill Lee has said the state will not be funding any more construction at the site, calling the non-action a “pause.” The $40.9 billion state budget, released earlier this month, does not include any new funding for the project.
In a recent Daily Memphian article, Sen. Paul Rose (R-Covington) was quoted as saying, “We’ve backed up. The money’s been appropriated to get the project in the ground and go forward with part of getting this shovel-ready. He has put a pause, so it’s going to take some effort on our part as legislators to convince him (that) the money’s been appropriated, let’s spend it and get closer to getting ready.”
The land was purchased by the state in 2009. In 2017, Toyota/Mazda considered building a $1.6 billion car plant at the location that would create about 4,000 jobs, but ultimately went elsewhere.
Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said then the reason Toyota/Mazda passed was because the megasite was not shovel-ready.
After Toyota/Mazda passed, Tipton County Executive Jeff Huffman said, “This is the number one industrial site in the state. The governor wants somebody in there. It’s just not ready.”
That seems to still be the case.
When asked for further comment on the matter on Tuesday, Rose issued the following statement: “The Megasite is certainly moving forward. Governor Lee’s decision to review the Megasite plans is to ensure we are doing the very best we can to benefit the entire West Tennessee region. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, state and local officials and other stakeholders are diligently seeking a tenet, and I have every confidence they will land one. Once completed, the Megasite will greatly impact not only Tipton County, but all of West Tennessee. It will certainly have a tremendous boost to the economy, quality of life and future generations of our communities.”