Bristol – Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) was awarded $500,000 from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as part of the Site Development Grant Program, part of the larger Rural Economic Opportunity Act passed in 2016, helps communities prepare industrial sites for businesses.
The grants assist communities in finalizing infrastructure and site improvements for Select Tennessee Certified Sites and sites that will go through the site certification process. The projects prepare the sites for new business operations and jobs. In total, 33 communities have been awarded Site Development Grants with 15 communities receiving the grants in 2016.
“Having a large pad-ready site is a critical competent in attracting new large business to our community,” said BTES CEO Mike Browder. “Having an extremely reliable electric system and a fiber optic system that offers 10 gigabits per second to our entire service area will also help to attract advanced manufacturing, service industries, data centers, fulfillments centers or corporate offices to this newly developed site. We are looking forward to the opportunities this grant will provide BTES and the community team.”
The grant awarded to the Bristol Business Park will be used for the clearing, demolition, and seeding of 50 acres to accommodate a 420,000-square foot building pad.
“This grant award represents an exciting opportunity to partner with TnECD, BTES, and Sullivan NETWORKS in a significant economic development project,” explained City of Bristol City Manager Bill Sorah. “This provides us the ability to recruit larger projects which will expand the employment opportunities for our region.”
Through the combined efforts of BTES, the City of Bristol Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, a complete infrastructure system has already been installed at the Park including roadway, water, sewer, storm drainage, electrical and fiber optic.
“This site work will enable us to compete on large scale projects for which we currently cannot submit a property with any reasonable expectation of success in Sullivan County,” said Clay Walker, CEO of N NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership. “We spend a great deal of our resources in creating a brand and generating leads, so it is extremely disappointing when we receive a lead for a large scale project – knowing that despite having the transportation and other infrastructure, the properly trained workforce, and every other requirement, we are not always competitive because we do not have an appropriate site – it is a disappointment to say the least. This grant will make that disappointment a distant memory.”
The application process was competitive with grants awarded based on benefit to the community, economic impact, leveraged resources, and ability to implement a successful project.
Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly.