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Improving economy fuels increase in local construction starts

The new O'Reilly's Auto Parts store is being built across the street from the old store on Rankin Avenue in Dunlap.

June 8, 2018 – Houses are going up and businesses are expanding in the Dunlap area, and those who are building say that it is a sign of an overall improving economy.

There is a lot more construction going on,” carpenter Billy Seals said this week. “I'm glad to see it.”

Seals was coming to work at the site of two houses under construction on Fredonia Road in Dunlap.

According to City Building Inspector Bill Dennis, there are two more lots available on that particular parcel where houses could be built, and there are at least a half-dozen more houses being built in the area right now.

Billy Seals arrives to work on a house being built on Fredonia Road.

The economy is starting to pick up,” Dennis admitted. “I've already done more single-family homes – new homes – this year than in the last two years.”

Dennis said he has issued eight building permits for home construction this year, so far.

Over the past three years, city permits issued for both new construction and remodels have reflected improvements estimated at $937,190 (2016), $10,642,009 (2017), and $1,094,800 so far in 2018. The big boost last year included a $7 million renovation of a 49-unit apartment complex on Garden Court Loop, Dennis pointed out.

In addition to homes being built in several locations around Dunlap and throughout Sequatchie County, there are at least two businesses with construction going on: A new Dollar General store is being built on US 127 north of Dunlap in the Mt. Airy community, and O'Reilly's Auto Parts is building a big new store across the street from their old one on Rankin Avenue just south of downtown.

The new facility will be nearly 8,100 square feet, according to store manager Connie Rogers. A grand opening is tentatively set for Aug. 21.

It will definitely increase our size and efficiency,” Rogers said Monday.

The location her store has occupied for the five years she has been there was an old building when O'Reilly's got it, and had served several uses in the past. O'Reilly's built the sales floor, but the new building will triple the size and be more “inviting,” Rogers said.

Where we are now, we don't have the sales floor that other stores have,” she explained. “With the new sales floor, we'll be able to have more product out. I'm beginning to get excited. It's going to be so much better, more user-friendly.””

The new building is necessary, she said, because the store has prospered and quite simply outgrown its building.

We are growing by leaps and bounds,” she said.

A new Dollar General store is under construction in northeast Sequatchie County, in the Mt. Airy community.