By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
NASHVILLE – Clay and DeKalb counties were among the nine communities that Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced Tuesday to collectively receive more than $1.3 million in Site Development Grant funding.
The local grants awarded were:
Joint Industrial Board of Celina and Clay County
Mitchell Street Industrial Property, $59,992 – Due diligence studies and grading plan
Industrial Development Board of Smithville
Smithville Industrial Park East, $235,080 – Marketing road and brush removal
“I’m pleased to announce nine more Site Development Grants that will prepare industrial sites across Tennessee,” Lee said. “With the support of the General Assembly, these grants are at the heart of our efforts to attract quality jobs and private investment to rural Tennessee. I look forward to being able to celebrate new jobs in each of these communities in the months and years ahead.”
The grants are designed to help communities achieve Select Tennessee site certification and prepare industrial sites for economic development projects. The funding helps communities invest in infrastructure and engineering improvements on project-ready sites.
“The site development grant for our continued due diligence efforts is going to be a big help as we continue to develop the Mitchell Street industrial park,” said Kevin Donaldson, executive director of the Clay County Chamber.
“After the Industrial Development Board completes this part of the project, we’ll continue to leverage additional funding sources to help the county move forward in having two ‘pad-ready’ sites at the Mitchell Street location,” Donaldson added.
Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan was thrilled for the county to receive the grant and for the impact that it would have on the county’s economic development efforts.
“This will enable us to continue to go forward with developing our site and getting two sites that are pad ready,” explained Reagan. “We have to have that in order to start advertising our industrial site. Without that we’re not even in the running to get out there and try recruit more businesses.”
The DeKalb County grant will allow the Smithville Industrial Development Board (IDB) to remove existing brush and to create a road providing access to the available industrial property at the end of Moog Boulevard, behind Tenneco and Foutch Industries, to be used for marketing purposes.
Attempts to reach representatives from the Smithville IDB were unsuccessful as of publication.
“For communities looking to attract new industry, having shovel-ready sites is crucial,” Rolfe said. “TNECD is excited about the newest round of Site Development Grant recipients. Five of the new grantees are in rural counties that have not fully benefitted from Tennessee’s broader economic gains. Attracting industry to these communities remains one of TNECD’s utmost priorities, and I’m confident these grants will help position them to attract quality, family wage jobs.”
The Site Development Grant program works in tandem with TNECD’s Select Tennessee Site Certification program. Since 2016, TNECD has awarded 80 Site Development Grants across the state, totaling nearly $28 million in assistance to local communities.
Other grants awarded include:
Town of Halls
Hwy 209 Industrial Site (Steelman Farms), $100,000 – Due diligence studies, master plan and rail feasibility study
Industrial Development Board of Jefferson City
Hunt Property, $500,000 – Grading of approximately 25 acres and improved site access
Lewis County Industrial Park, $80,155 – Due diligence studies and master plan
Canterbury Site, $39,872 – Due diligence studies and master plan
Claiborne County Industrial Development Board
Russell Industrial Property, $89,775 – Due diligence studies and rail feasibility study
Savannah Industrial Development Corporation
Savannah-Hardin County Industrial Site, $66,500 – Due diligence studies
City of Shelbyville
231 North Business Park, $133,000 – Clearing, fence removal and access drive construction
Applications were reviewed by an advisory committee made up of TNECD, Austin Consulting, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and USDA Rural Development.
Clay County representatives lauded the teamwork and collaboration that resulted in their successful application.
“We’re very grateful for the team effort from our local and regional partners, particularly the Upper Cumberland Development District and the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association, that made this possible,” said Donaldson.
Reagan added, “We’re tickled to death to get that and I want to thank everybody because it was a joint effort on a lot of people’s part.”