Grants to assist distressed counties 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that 20 communities will receive Asset Enhancement Grants. The grants assist distressed counties take steps to improve unemployment rates, per capita income, poverty rates and other economic measures.

“I am excited to announce the 20 communities that have been awarded the Asset Enhancement Grants,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “With the help of these grants, our rural communities will have better opportunities to succeed and achieve their strategic goals. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of these communities and watching their growth.”

TNECD worked with the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service to develop action-oriented, short-term goals based on assets in each distressed county. Through the Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016, participating counties were eligible for up to $50,000 for projects that allow the community to meet at least one of their asset-based goals, can show measurable outcomes and have an impact on key economic indicators that have led them to be classified as distressed. Grants will be used in areas of tourist development, downtown development, workforce development, and/or economic development.

“One of TNECD’s long-term objectives is to eliminate the number of distressed counties, those that are in the bottom 10 percent of the nation in unemployment rate, per capita income level, and poverty rate,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner for Rural Development Amy New said. “We have focused the Asset–Based Planning initiative and these grants on communities that are distressed or have recently been distressed and on how these projects can impact those statistics and move our counties out of distress.” 

The grants have been awarded to the following counties:

Campbell County
Claiborne County
Cocke County
Fentress County
Grundy County
Hancock County
Haywood County
Johnson County
Lake County
Lauderdale County
Lewis County
McNairy County
Morgan County
Perry County
Pickett County
Scott County
Union County
Van Buren County
Wayne County
White County

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Tennessee is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:




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