McMinn County Awarded Site Development Grant

McMinn County Awarded Site Development Grant Main Photo

20 Jun 2024

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter announced 15 new Site Development Grant recipients. 

The grants, totaling more than $17 million, are designed to help communities invest in infrastructure and engineering improvements to land economic development projects and achieve Select Tennessee site certification.  McMinn County will receive $984,752 to construct an access road at Athens McMinn Innovation Park. A full list of grant recipients can be found here.

“What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all Tennesseans, and we’ve made significant investments to strengthen the skilled workforce in our rural counties,” said Lee. “TNECD’s Site Development grant program further supports those efforts by creating high-quality jobs for thousands of Tennesseans across our state and spurring future economic growth.”

“From Memphis to Mountain City, Tennessee has so many rural communities,” said McWhorter. “Economic growth in our rural regions is vital to our future, and I’m grateful to all involved for helping make this round of grants happen.”

Applications were reviewed by an advisory committee made up of TNECD, Austin Consulting, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly.

The Site Development Grant program is part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Act, which provides funding to improve the economies of Tennessee’s rural communities. Since 2016, TNECD has awarded 180 Site Development Grants across the state, totaling nearly $100 million in assistance to local communities and generating 7,011 new jobs for Tennesseans.  The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with TNECD and local leaders to secure nearly $7 million in site development grants since the program’s inception.  Funding has been used to improve industrial access roads, conduct due diligence studies, expand site inventory, and will now be used to extend industrial-grade utility infrastructure for future use.

“McMinn County appreciates the strong partnership that exists between the State of Tennessee and our local economic development team.  The Athens McMinn Innovation Park is already home to world class jobs and higher education training, and we look forward to the new life-changing employment opportunities this investment will create,” said McMinn County Mayor John Gentry.

“This project will provide access to the undeveloped portion of Athens McMinn Innovation Park,” said McMinn County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Lindsey Ferguson. “This is the next step in the development of the site to recruit new businesses and job opportunities for our county.”