From Staff Reports
State Senator Rusty Crowe and Representative John Holsclaw announced on Tuesday, Sept. 27, that Unicoi County will receive a major $525,000 Community Development Block (CDBG) grant to extend water lines in the southern portion of the county.
“This Community Development Block Grant for $525,000 is good news for all of Unicoi County and great news for the Rocky Fork area and the state park,” Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch told The Erwin Record on Tuesday. “These CDBG grants are essential for infrastructure development which in turn can spur economic development by attracting entrepreneurs to establish housing, cabins, specialty shops, stores and other businesses. It is a pleasure to be a part of these efforts to better our county and I am grateful for the work of the First Tennessee Development District, Erwin Utilities and many others working on our behalf to bring these grants to Unicoi County.”
The grant was supported by Crowe and Holsclaw who worked with Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd to make them understand how important this is for Unicoi County, according to information from Crowe’s office. The water line extension will help approximately 70 households in the southern portion of the county, as well as, the continued development of Rocky Fork State Park.
“I can’t tell you how pleased I am upon getting the news that Governor Haslam and Commissioner Randy Boyd have approved our request for a community block grant to provide these needed improvements,” Crowe said. “Our Unicoi County community has worked very hard to make clear the importance of providing this water service, not only for those families needing extensions, but for the continued development of Rocky Fork State Park that will provide a tremendous boost for our tourism and economic development potential.”
The development of the park includes access roads, a welcome center, picnic areas, campgrounds and challenging bike trails and equestrian trails. It is also anticipated that spin-off development will occur in the area just outside the park in the vicinity. This development could include outfitters, gas stations and convenience stores, providing much needed jobs and economic development opportunities in the southern end of Unicoi County.
“This kind of infrastructure is very important to the well-being of our citizens and to the overall economic development of our county,” Rep. Holsclaw stated. “Infrastructure is a key component of job creation and this grant will be a tremendous boost for Unicoi County.”
“We want to personally thank the Governor and Commissioner Boyd, as well as our community leaders who have worked so hard to make this happen,” Crowe added.
The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Department of Economic and Community Development administers the grant program based on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best known.
“I am pleased to see the Community Development Block grant approved and Erwin Utilities be part of helping move the development of rocky fork state park forward,” Erwin Utilities General Manager Lee Brown said.