UPPER CUMBERLAND – Four Upper Cumberland cities were selected for the fifth round of the Tennessee Downtowns program. Crossville, Gainesboro, Livingston and Woodbury were among 12 total communities chosen and will receive grant moneys to fund city-centered improvement projects. Thirty-four communities have participated in the Tennessee Downtowns program since its inception in 2010.
Each community has downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago, state officials said, and have demonstrated “their readiness to organize efforts for downtown revitalization.” The highly competitive selection process was based on historic commercial resources, economic and physical need, demonstrated local effort, overall presentation and probability of success.
Ashland City, Dickson, Hohenwald, Humboldt, Lenoir City, Lynchburg, Manchester and Wartburg were also on the list. Upon meeting program requirements, the communities receive a $15,000 grant to complete a downtown improvement project.
“Flourishing downtowns provide a sense of pride for our communities, spur tourism, promote entrepreneurship and create jobs,” Amy New, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development assistant commissioner of rural development, said in a release. “We’ve seen communities turn their $15,000 grants into hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of leveraged investment from both the public and private sector. With strong local leadership, the Tennessee Downtowns program can create vibrant and sustainable economies in the heart of rural Tennessee – our downtowns.”
Previous rounds of Tennessee Downtowns included Celina, Monterey, Red Boiling Springs, Smithville, Carthage and Jamestown. Additionally, Cookeville and McMinnville are designated Tennessee Main Street communities.
The grant is not available until the end of a two-year process. Ashley Allen DeRossett, vice president, Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, said a steering committee will make a determination as to how that money is used. It’s unknown at this point what the other three cities have planned.
“We are thrilled to be chosen as a Tennessee Downtown community and to join the other communities that have completed the process over the year,” DeRossett told the UCBJ. “We want our downtown to be a vibrant district for all ages to enjoy. I think this designation is a step in the right direction for the downtown district. The application process was 40 pages long for Crossville but so worth the work. (We look) forward to rolling up our sleeves and going to work on the project which should began mid-August.”
Editor’s note: The UCBJ will continue to update this story.