Dresden, Tenn., May 16, 2016—Two grants totaling nearly $741k dollars will inject much needed resources into Northwest Tennessee for economic development.
“These grants are highly appreciated and we’re excited to see the economic development that comes as a result of them,” said State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) who supported the grant efforts. “When you choose to live the rural life, jobs aren’t as easy to come by as they are in Nashville or Memphis, but as the State of Tennessee continues to grow, we’re seeing economic activity benefit all regions of our great state.”
In Weakley County, Dresden will receiving $290,000 to pave the access road to the IDB Pad Ready Site. This development will ensure the site is more accessible and appealing to industrial prospects. Meanwhile, Obion County will be receiving $450k to grade approximately 15.5 acres at the Union City Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Center to create a pad ready site for a 105,000 square foot building that may be expanded to 200,000 square feet should the need arise.
Holt says that ensuring the proper infrastructure is in place will help to spur interest in the region from job creating companies.
“When companies see that solid infrastructure is in place to do business, they jump on board,” said Holt. “We’ve already seen a lot of new interest in the region from companies looking to expand into our state and I’m confident that this will help make their decision easier. After all, Tennessee is now one of the top five states in the country to do business thanks to our efforts at the capitol.”
Governor Bill Haslam and Community-Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced the grant award on Monday.
“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 and economic development project.
The Site Development Grant program works in cooperation with the departments Select Tennessee Site Certification program, names 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.