Mountain City gets $1 million infrastructure grant

John Thompson • Updated Aug 19, 2016 at 5:06 PM

MOUNTAIN CITY — A $1 million federal grant will support the expansion of a major employer and protect businesses from flooding.

The grant to upgrade Mountain City’s wastewater treatment plan was announced Friday.

Bill Forrester, director of industry and housing programs for the First Tennessee Development District in Johnson City, and the successful writer for the grant, called the announcement “great news.”

“I hadn’t heard it had been approved,” Forrester said.

He said the upgrade to the treatment plant comes as a major expansion is nearing completion at Parkdale Mills, a manufacturer of spun yarn for clothing. The expansion represents an investment in Johnson County by the global company of $126 million and the addition of 222,158 square feet to the plant.

Forrester said the expansion will allow the creation of 75 to 100 new jobs, as well as saving the 300 jobs already at the textile plant. He said the expansion’s economic impact will go beyond Mountain City and Johnson County to nearby areas such as Carter and Washington counties.

He said the grant will be used for three major infrastructure improvements: a pump station near the welcome center; a spiral fine screen to collect debris; and an augur at the treatment plant. He said it will also include a new tank to allow increased chlorine contact.

“There is a dire need for the improvements to the treatment plant,” Forrester said

Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble was unavailable for comment late Friday afternoon. Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter said, “This is good news. It helps Johnson County as well as the city.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said the award was made by the department’s Economic Development Administration.

“Ensuring that our communities have the modern infrastructure they need to grow and thrive while becoming more resilient to natural disasters is a major focus of the Economic Development Administration,” Pritzker said. “This EDA investment will upgrade Mountain City’s water infrastructure to generate economic development and spur job growth in the region.”

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