Old McDonald Farm has offered days of laughter, wonder and fond memories for hundreds around Chattanooga. With its corn maze, pumpkin patch, critter barns and more, the farm served as one of Tennessee’s staple attractions for years.
After two centuries of family ownership, in July, Hamilton County purchased the 2,170-acre property for $16 million.
Despite closing, the farm continues to serve its community.
The property is set to bring new jobs to the Chattanooga area as Hamilton County looks to develop the farm into manufacturing, data and logistics centers. The economic growth in Chattanooga has limited the amount of property left for development. Businesses that have stood in Hamilton County for years are now landlocked with no room for expansion. The McDonald Farm purchase promises to solve this issue and bring more opportunities to Hamilton County.
“From an economic development strategy perspective, we view the McDonald Farm purchase as a long-term strategy that ensures room for companies,” says Charles Wood, Vice President, Economic Development, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.
There are some concerns about replacing such a landmark with industrial businesses. However, the county has said they fully expect to use some of the land for recreational and natural preservation purposes.
“There is potential for Hamilton County to see this purchase as a long-term economic generator, with property taxes and school taxes that will support the community as it grows. Making sure there’s opportunity for preservation of areas for natural resources is a win-win from a community standpoint,” Wood says.
The land is also providing opportunities to collaborate with neighboring counties. Over a hundred acres of the property reside in Ray County. Sequatchie, McMinn and Meigs County are also on the border. The industrial development will aid in providing jobs for these counties, just as Enterprise South Nature Park does to its surrounding counties.
Whether it’s for industry, preservation or collaboration, McDonald Farm will continue to provide for Hamilton County in the coming years.