Part of more than $9.6 million in site development grants awarded to 25 rural Tennessee communities by the state department of Economic and Community Development, the $500,000 award is earmarked for “pad-ready” grading for a single, large industrial user.
Tyler Engle, executive director of the Joint Economic Development Board of Unicoi County, told the Johnson City Press earlier this month the grant will provide fine grading and installation of underground utility hookups for a 150,000 square-foot concrete pad suitable to a large manufacturing facility.
The TEDC funds are being awarded on the heels of a $250,000 TVA Invest Prep Grant awarded to Erwin in 2016 for the demolition of the Morgan Insulation buildings and silos and “shovel-ready” site preparations that are expected to be completed within the next 90 days.
Erwin Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said the new funding has already generated a lot of of excitement among local officials who were notified ahead of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and TDECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe’s announcement of grant awards on Wednesday.
According to the TDECD, the grants are intended to help rural communities overcome site certification barriers, finalize infrastructure and engineering improvements and prepare for job creating development projects.
“By making our rural communities ready for investment and economic success, we help them attract jobs and more opportunities for citizens," Haslam said in the press release. “I congratulate the Site Development Grant program recipients and look forward to watching as they thrive and bring new businesses to our state."
Rolfe said TDECD’s goal is to help rural communities “up their game and increase their close rate” and to place Tennessee’s “rural county site inventory among the most attractive and project-ready in the world.”
“We are proud to see these 25 communities taking the initiative to invest in themselves and look forward to seeing their future success,” Rolfe said.
TNECD Assistant Commissioner for Community and Rural Development Amy New said the site development program has shown great return on investment of funds made available through Tennessee’s Rural Economic Opportunity Act to level the playing field between rural and urban areas.
“Each of the recipients is taking a major step to enhance their community and with the assistance of the site development grants, they are given the opportunity to compete for jobs and business,” New said.
TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said the grants are a valuable resource for local development projects and demonstrate the state’s proactive approach to industrial development job creation.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.
This story has been corrected to show the size of the concrete pad as 150,000 square feet. An earlier version of the story listed the size as 45,000 square feet.