Montgomery County Health Department’s Vaccination, Testing Site moves to Governor’s Square Mall, Wednesday

Montgomery County, TN – The Montgomery County Health Department will move the location of the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccination and testing site to the former SEARS location at Governor’s Square Mall, located at 2801 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, on February 10th, 2021.

In January 2021, health workers added COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccinations to their workflow at the current Civitan Park site off Bellamy Lane.

COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccination and testing site will move to the former SEARS location at Governor’s Square Mall on Wednesday.

Although Montgomery County Government added trailers to help protect workers from adverse weather conditions, alternative locations have been sought for several months.

“Even with the trailers, we knew we needed a more permanent structure for the workers and those who are receiving vaccinations and testing. We’ve been working on negotiations with Cafaro for approximately eight weeks and we are grateful for this new location. Getting shots into the arms of Montgomery County residents is our greatest priority, so we are committed to doing whatever we can to minimize any risks,” stated Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett.

“Cafaro has been a great corporate citizen since they arrived with Governor’s Square Mall, and they continue to answer the call when needed,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “This site should be ideal to increase the speed and volume of vaccinations, which is essential to our community, said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.”

Providing a site for vaccinations and testing at a more permanent structure allows healthcare workers and those receiving services to more efficiently administer and receive services. This location also safeguards the vaccinations against the possibility of being wasted because of inclement weather.

“Right now, there’s nothing more important than getting the community vaccinated, finally protected from this virus.  We at Governor’s Square Mall are happy to do everything we can to help make that happen,” said Cafaro Company’s Director of Communications Joe Bell.

“I appreciate the team of people who have been working behind the scenes to find a fixed location for the vaccination and testing site. This is a win for everyone in our community,” added Mayor Durrett.

Anyone 70-and-older can register for a COVID-19 vaccination by doing the following:

  1. Find Your Phase by visiting https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/.
  2. Register for a Vaccination Appointment online at https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/vaccine-phases/for an appointment time to receive a vaccination through the county health department. Click Montgomery County on the map, click “Make an Appointment” to register, then enter the name and contact information to be notified of the appointment date, time and location as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Individuals who do not have access to the internet should call 866.442.5301.

Electric vehicle battery maker Microvast to bring 287-job factory to Clarksville

By Chris Smith February 10, 2021 8:14 am

Clarksville NowMicrovast imageMicrovast is planning to build a facility in Clarksville, Tenn.

CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – An electric vehicle battery maker will set up its first American factory in Clarksville, bringing almost 300 jobs in a growing technology market.

Microvast, an American-owned global company, specializes in building rapid-charging lithium ion batteries for commercial electric vehicles.

A completed Microvast battery pack (Microvast)

“This is huge,” Frank Tate, executive director of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, told Clarksville Now. “That this is the first American-owned EV battery operation in the United States – that’s pretty big for us.”

Microvast plans to start production here in summer 2022, moving into the former Akebono/Bosch plant on International Boulevard.

 

What they’ll make

The $220 million Clarksville plant will include will include a research and development department and manufacturing facility to build the EV battery cell, module and pack.

“We go from the raw material all the way to the finished good – the pack – and we’ve been doing that for the last 14 years,” Shane Smith, president of Microvast U.S., said in an interview with Clarksville Now.

“What Microvast does well is it’s very good at cycle life – the number of charges and discharges you can do in a day or period of time – and then we have good fast-charging capabilities, so we can fully charge a battery in 10 to 30 minutes. And we balance that with safety.”

That profile works particularly well for commercial and specialty vehicles, such as light, medium and heavy duty trucks, buses, trains and specialty vehicles. Electric vehicles are especially useful in places where you wouldn’t want an internal combustion engine, such as mining or for scissor lifts or forklifts in a warehouse.

“The United States is just now getting going on electrification of commercial vehicles,” Smith said. “There’s less than 1% in the United States that’s electrified.” But that market is growing fast.

Microvast is already in almost at 30,000 vehicles globally, and perhaps their most visible client is the London double-decker bus. There are over 1,000 double-decker buses in London; all are electric and powered by Microvast batteries, Smith said.

Research and development work being done in a Microvast battery facility. (Microvast)

Microvast also designs and builds batteries for energy storage, such as in electricity grids for utilities.

“The product portfolio that we make here – it would work in an electric vehicle and it would also work for energy storage. At the end of the day, a battery really doesn’t know if it’s in a car or if it’s on standby or actively being used to manage a grid.”

Why Clarksville?

When asked about choosing Clarksville, Smith said, “We shopped. We looked around at different places in the United States” particularly sites in the Northwest and Southeast.

“Tennessee is really good at providing a conducive environment for a company to stick a flag in,” Smith said. “Once we got into Tennessee, then we started looking around within Tennessee, and Frank (Tate) and his team did a good job attracting us here and saying why this is a good home for us. I think that bodes well for the state and the county.”

Clarksville’s assets included possible partnerships with Austin Peay State University, having the Clarksville Regional Airport for use by customers, and having a steady supply of workers thanks to Fort Campbell.

Himself former military, Smith said he has “a special place in my heart for veterans.”

 

Job types

The company plans to hire 287 employees.

“We’re looking for a work force that we can train. We know that people don’t know inherently how to make a battery,” Smith said.

Automated battery production work being done in a Microvast facility. (Microvast)

In addition to manufacturing jobs, they will be recruiting for jobs in management, quality control and more.

Microvast will move into the old Akebono plant, which has been vacant for about five months. At its height, Akebono employed over 400 people.

“Those 400 people didn’t go away,” Tate said. “We’ve now got to reintegrate them into the work force.”

Microvast plans to begin recruiting in the fourth quarter of 2021, with job postings as early as August. Careers for Microvast will be posted at Clarksvilleishiring.com.

A PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, incentive package for the company was approved Wednesday morning by the IDB.

Environment

Asked about any environmental concerns, Smith said, “I’d say they are very, very small.”

He said their process isn’t toxic, and they are able to reprocess a lot of the byproduct. He said it’s not that different from the manufacturing plants Clarksville has already.

The plant itself could help improve the environment in other ways, too, through helping to expand the use of electric vehicles.

Tate pointed out the high number of trucks on the Interstate 24, and what an impact could be made if all of those commercial vehicles relied on electricity rather than gas.

“It’s a win-win for not only Microvast but for the green initiatives across the country,” Tate said.

A slide showing Microvast’s growth timeline as presented to investors Feb. 1, 2020. (Microvast)

Expanding company

Founded in 2006, Microvast is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and employs 1,600 people.

At a presentation to investors last week, Microvast also confirmed a merger with Tuscan Holdings, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). As a result of this deal, Microvast will become a publicly listed company. The new combined company is expected to be named Microvast Holdings Inc. (MVST).

Last week, Businesswire reported that Microvast had secured a joint-development deal with the Oshkosh Corp., giving the company a major advantage in the market.

Money | Clarksville, TN Number One Best Place to Live

Photographed by Jason Myers for MONEY

No. 1

Clarksville, Tennessee

Fifty miles northwest of the neon lights of Nashville, there’s a place where natural beauty coexists with a growing economy, unique small businesses are thriving, a cheap meal out rarely costs more than $12, and there’s always a trivia night, community event or concert on the calendar.

And, yes, you can actually afford to live there.

Clarksville, Tennessee might not be on your radar yet, but it should be. To all the millennials moving in, the city of about 160,000 people is a place they can afford to plant down roots. The average age of a Clarksville resident is only 29, almost a decade younger than the state of Tennessee as a whole. And guess what? They’re actually buying houses. Between May and July 2019, about one in every two Clarksville mortgages was closed by a millennial, according to Ellie Mae. That’s perhaps not surprising, since the average Clarksville home sold for just under $156,000 in 2018, according to Attom Data — which is nearly $100,000 below the U.S. median home price in the same year.

At Copper Petal, a trendy boutique on Clarksville’s walkable Franklin Street in the heart of downtown, founder Megan Baggett, 25, sits on a plush pink couch against an Instagram-ready black and white backdrop. Above her head are the bright pink words “Community + Confidence.” Baggett, a Clarksville resident since she was six months old, knows a thing or two about buying a house in the city: she and her husband Luke, who’s the third generation in a family of Clarksville home builders, recently bought their first home — and even they had to move fast.

“The housing market is just crazy right now,” Baggett says. “You can barely even keep a house on the market for longer than a week before it sells.” To keep up with demand, she says, her husband is working on building six different houses. The city of Clarksville covers a fairly wide geographical area, and contains neighborhoods featuring an array of homes: new Craftsman-style, grand estates, duplexes, apartment complexes, and more.

Located near Kentucky’s Fort Campbell, one of the largest military bases in the U.S., Clarksville has long been a beacon for servicemembers and their families. More than 68,000 retired military members call Clarksville home, according to a Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development report. According to local lore, Jimi Hendrix himself settled briefly in Clarksville after being discharged from Fort Campbell, and was a regular performer in downtown clubs before moving to New York.

There are a growing number of reasons to live in Clarksville outside of the military. “We actually had someone come in probably three months ago from Atlanta,” says Baggett. “They were looking to move here and they had no connection here. They just came and they really liked it.”

The city is home to a sizable amount of Nashville commuters, so it seems inevitable that Clarksville would grow as Nashville does. (Jobs in the capital city have grown about 38% since July 2009, according to BLS data.)

Clarksville, which is projected to gain 90,000 residents by 2040, has its own growing industry, too. Jobs in the surrounding Montgomery county are estimated to increase by just over 9% by 2023, according to Moody’s Analytics. A new LG manufacturing facility opened in early 2019, bringing hundreds of jobs with it, and Google is set to open a $600 million data center on the northeast side of the city with about 70 highly-skilled positions within the next two quarters, according to a Google spokesperson.

The industry isn’t limited to tech and electronics, though. Clarksville is also a hotbed for small businesses, which can receive free guidance from the local chapter of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, located at the Austin Peay State University and partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. They can also get started by selling their wares at Miss Lucille’s Marketplace, an antique market that’s become known as a business incubator, with locals graduating from selling in pop-up booths to managing entire storefronts.

Clarksville’s charming downtown has come a long way since 1999, when a tornado damaged stores and forced businesses out. You would never know it walking the main strip today, which is home to breweries, restaurants, and local businesses. The downtown district seems allergic to chains.

“You’re not going to find a Starbucks down here,” says Tony Shrum, 34, whose record shop &Vinyl sits downtown at the corner of Franklin and North Second Street. “A revitalization of downtown is not a revitalization by putting corporate companies in here.”

And that’s good news for him. Renting a similar space in nearby Nashville would cost “three, four times more,” he says. Here in Clarksville, his bright and airy shop is filled with rows of vinyl, and the walls are decorated with American flag-painted slabs of wood — relics from the shop’s previous occupant.

“There’s people that want to move to a big city, but they don’t want to pay what it costs to live in a big city,” Shrum says. “If you want to be a hipster on a budget, here you go.”

The consensus is the same among everyone I talk to during my visit: Clarksville’s affordability is hard to beat, yet it’s not the only thing that makes the city special. There’s a unique charm to the place; it feels like the quintessential small American town. Not only are there small, locally-owned businesses, but public places where residents can go to relax, like the new park at Downtown Commons or the River Walk, whose paved path provides a beautiful view of the Cumberland River at sunset.

“I’ve tried leaving for 22 years and I keep coming back,” says Lorneth Peters, director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Clarksville’s Austin Peay State University. “And it’s because of the feel. It’s not only the affordability, but you feel at home.”

A strong community seems to be the backbone of Clarksville, and it shows itself in the friendly lunchtime banter between regulars and waitstaff at the bustling Yada Yada Deli. It’s in the buzzing aisles of the local Target, where parents leaf through the backpack selection with their children and a couple tweens peck through office supplies for the perfect binder at the end of summer break. It’s in the way somehow everyone seems to know each other when they cross paths outside the Roxy Theater or hiking on the trails of Dunbar Cave State Park. Some people in town say the city’s friendliness is related to its military population; when a resident is deployed, the community steps in to help care for the family.

The same feeling of remarkable effort extends to Clarksville’s school system. In a city with 41 schools and more on the way, Clarksville’s educational system is performing well, even as the city grows. Clarksville students perform better on reading and math tests than state average, according to Ed.gov data, and the graduation rate is 95%.

Deciding on a place to live is a notoriously complicated process, and there’s no one-size-fits-all city out there. But Clarksville seems like a good fit for the residents choosing to call it home, and the city seems well-poised for an even brighter future.