published Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Dayton studies idea of business incubator

DAYTON, Tenn. -- The leaders of MainStreet Dayton want to hatch more businesses with their own incubator.

At a recent meeting of the development group, the head of the board's economic restructuring committee, Jim Barth, said the group is talking with local colleges and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center about creating Rhea County's first business incubator.

Barth said such a facility will "build strength into their whole business."

Anna Tromanhauser, executive director of MainStreet Dayton, said Chattanooga State's satellite campus in Dayton has a room with a computer for entrepreneurs. But an incubator could offer more assistance in helping businesses get started.

"We're in the early stages of our study," she said.

Barth said in July that his committee plans to research tax incentives for property owners and plans to work with local organizations to help recruit new businesses into the area.

MainStreet Dayton was one of a half dozen local groups to be selected by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for a courthouse revitalization program.

The program allows local agencies or cities to get a portion of state sales tax collections generated within a district and use those funds for special projects.

MainStreet Dayton used nearly $100,000 to fund 80 percent of the costs of storefront renovations for a dozen local businesses this year.

Design chairman Kerry Nabors asked for the board's approval last week for a $75,000 second phase of the Private Realm Grant program.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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