Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Chamber plans downtowns celebration

The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce will host a Tennessee Downtowns Celebration on Thursday, June 16, at 6 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce office to commemorate the completion of the Tennessee Downtowns 18-month program and to recognize the recipients of the Downtown Signage Grants.
In March 2010, the Town of Erwin was one of ten communities selected, through an application submitted by the Chamber, to participate in the Tennessee Downtowns Program. A program of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Tennessee Downtowns Program assists communities with downtown revitalization efforts and Main Street Program selection. Communities selected for participation in the Tennessee Downtowns Program were also awarded a reimbursable innovation project grant of up to $15,000.
The Tennessee Downtowns Committee, made up of Lee Brown, general manager of Erwin Utilities; Amanda Delp, executive director of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce; Cathy Huskins, executive assistant of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce; Harry Lewis, owner of Plant Palace Florist and Gifts; and Randy Trivette, city recorder for the Town of Erwin, created the “Signage Grant Program” as the town’s Innovation Project.
“We (the committee) knew that we wanted to use the $15,000 grant to better serve the businesses in downtown,” said Amanda Delp, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “We developed the Signage Grant Program that would utilize the innovation grant by awarding smaller grants for signage to the local business owners that have weathered the storms of tough economic times and remained viable businesses in our downtown.”
The objective of the Signage Grant Program was to provide assistance for the upgrade and/or installation of aesthetically pleasing signage for individual businesses. The grant program was intended to stimulate building improvements while being mindful of the historical significance and uniqueness of downtown architecture. The program was designed to enhance the appearance of downtown and make a positive statement about downtown Erwin’s business climate.
“There was enough grant money to provide 20 businesses with signs, however we had 27 applicants apply for assistance,” added Delp. “Foster Signs graciously offered to donate the additional seven signs so no applicants would be denied funding.”
During the celebration on June 16, Vice Mayor Tilson will read a proclamation approved by the Town of Erwin BMA commemorating the project and recognizing the downtown businesses. Refreshments will be served. For more information, please call the Chamber at 743-3000.