Rural Development continues to be one of TNECD’s major initiatives. Last year alone, 45 percent of the jobs announced by TNECD were created in rural communities.
TNECD continues this success in Tennessee’s rural communities through rural development grants that we provide to small and distressed communities. Since 2011, TNECD, along with our federal partners, has awarded more than $480 million in rural development grants, with all 95 counties in our state receiving funding. These grants include Broadband Accessibility grants, Certified Site grants, Commercial Façade grants, Main Street Entrepreneur grants, ThreeStar grants, along with many others. All rural development grants administered by TNECD can be found here.
Counties and cities across the state take advantage of these grants to help enhance their communities and make these communities the best places for citizens to live and work. Rural communities are the heart of Tennessee, and they continue to take the initiative to invest in themselves with the assistance of the rural development grants.
One of the communities that has used the grants to its advantage is Lawrence County. Since 2011, Lawrence County has received $5.2 million in rural development grants and has seen the creation of approximately 800 jobs.
“Cumulatively, these grants display a united effort to be proactive in economic development efforts, tourism development efforts, and helping to create an improved quality of place,” Lawrence County Economic Development Director Ryan Egly said. “The improved morale of preparing for development or taking proactive steps towards development is important as we work to attract investment to Lawrence County.”
Out of the 15 grants that communities can apply for, Lawrence County has received seven and is planning to apply for more in the years to come.
Lawrence County has seen many advantages since receiving grants from the state. The county has received funding for site development, main street revitalization and tourism.
With the assistance of these grants, Lawrence County will create a downtown masterplan for revitalization efforts, purchase and install a new sound system for the historic Crockett Theater, develop infrastructure needs for its industrial park and improve the façade and building of downtown Lawrenceburg.
Many of Lawrenceburg’s projects that have been done with the help of rural grants are completed or near completion. Lawrenceburg’s commercial façade work is now complete. With the $25,000 funds awarded for the commercial façade grant, the community updated awnings across its downtown area, which made a huge impact on its downtown.
Rural Development grants often lead to job creation. By focusing on things like livability in downtown districts through façade grants, communities become more appealing to site selectors and companies looking for new locations. Lawrence County has done a great job of using the programs focused on community development to create economic development growth through industrial locations and increased tourism.
“The Lawrence County team has a multitude of members dedicated to improving the quality of life for our citizens. A large part of deciding to apply for certain programs came because of need, like the Select Tennessee programs, and others out of demand, like façade grant and the tourism enhancement grant,” Egly added.
To learn more about how your community can apply for rural development grants, click here.