NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced today that 15 communities will receive $5.7 million in Site Development Grants to prepare economic development sites for market.
The Site Development Grant program is part of the larger Rural Economic Development Fund announced by Haslam and Boyd last October. "We want to help our rural communities build capacity and be ready for investment and economic success, and through the Site Development Grant program, all 15 communities will be able to succeed and grow," Haslam said. "We've embraced change in our approach to workforce readiness with programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, and we want to congratulate all 15 communities on receiving these grants. I look forward to seeing each thrive and bring new business to our state."
The grants assist communities in finalizing infrastructure and engineering improvements for project ready certified sites. The grants are intended to help rural communities overcome barriers to site certification and prepare them to receive an economic development project. The Site Development Grant program works in cooperation with the department's Select Tennessee Site Certification program, named the best site certification program in the U.S. by Area Development magazine.
"Site certification is really site elimination. Rural Tennessee communities already compete for jobs and investment and do quite well. We want to help them up their game and increase their close rate by making our rural county site inventory among the most attractive and project ready in the world," TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said.
"Through this investment, we expect to see more opportunities and deal flow in rural Tennessee by assisting communities in overcoming obstacles for certification or by improving a Certified Site," Assistant Commissioner for Rural Development Amy New added. "We want to partner with communities to complete the finishing touches on their sites so that we see more gold shovels tossing the ceremonial dirt."
An advisory committee made up of staff from the department, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture selected these 15 sites from a pool of 24 applications. The application process was competitive with grants awarded based on benefit to the community, economic impact and projected return on investment.
The grants awarded were:
- Brownsville I-40 Advantage $500,000 - Extension of 1600 linear feet of water line and boring under the railroad tracks to close the loop in the system along the bypass
- Centerville Shipps Bend Industrial Site $310,650 - Construction of access road and new wastewater line to the property
- Coffee County IB Joint Industrial Park $163,350 - Clearing of 16.5 acres of the 48.62 acre Select TN site
- Dresden IDB Pad Ready Site $290,700 - Paving of the access road to allow the property to be easily accessible and more appealing to industrial prospects
- Gibson County Industrial Site South $495,000 - Relocation of 69kV transmission lLine which splits the property
- Humboldt Gibson County Industrial Site North $356,400 - Extension of 3200 linear feet of 12 inch water main
- Lawrence County JECDB Team Lawrence Commerce Park East and West $309,985 - Widen and develop County Farm Road to meet state industrial access requirements and create better access
- Montgomery County IDB County Corporate Business Park $212,264 - Clearing of approximately 70 acres of trees that will allow for both better access to the central part of the site and increase interest through preliminary land work being completed
- Pulaski Industrial Park South Lot 5 $357,300 - Extension of 2500 linear feet of sewer line
- Ripley Walker East Industrial Park $485,459 - Construction of 1000 linear feet of frontage road and the widening of Highland Street to include a third lane for turning onto the highway
- Roane County IDB Jones Road Site $356,072 - Clearing and grading for a building pad to accommodate a minimum 100,000 square foot building
- Shelbyville 23 North Business Park (Commerce Business Park) $500,000 - Construction of paved two lane industrial access road with utilities and park sign
- Tiptonville Lake County Industrial Site at Cates Landing $500,000 - Construction of wastewater lagoon improvements and the installation of approximately 18,000 linear feet of 12-inch force main
- Union City Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Center $450,000 - Grading of approximately 15.5 acres to create a pad ready site for a 105,000 square foot building that is expandable to 200,000 square feet
- Washington County Telford $473,405 - Grading of the 21.7-acre site to accommodate a 150,000 square foot facility
Each application was supported by the community's senator and representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly.