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Lee administration approves $28M in block grants

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters outside the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration has approved $28.5 million in block grants for 62 community projects. Here’s the release from the Department of Economic and Community Development:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe recently approved $28.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which will assist communities with infrastructure improvements, housing rehabilitations and health and safety initiatives.

“Investing in local infrastructure is one of our top priorities, and these funds will play a vital role as communities work to update their assets and keep their communities safe,” said Lee. “These recipients are proactively preparing their communities for future economic opportunities and continued growth.”

“Community Development Block Grants are an enormous asset to communities across Tennessee,” Rolfe said. “The 62 communities receiving CDBG funding will be better equipped for future economic opportunities, which in turn, will help our state continue to grow and succeed. I congratulate these recipients and look forward to seeing the successes in each community in the years to come.”

The allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set through the public meeting process at the local community level. The CDBG program is funded through HUD and administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development. Funds are available for water and sewer improvements and new extensions, housing rehabilitation and health and safety projects.

Here are the 62 Community Development Block Grants:

CommunityProjectAmount
AltamontWater System Improvements$630,000
Bethel SpringsWater System Improvements$313,049
BolivarSewer System Improvements$361,000
BrightonDrainage Improvements$326,679
BrownsvilleSewer System Improvements$630,000
BrucetonSewer System Improvements$511,750
Carroll CountyFire Protection$371,700
CarthageFire Protection$296,024
CelinaSewer System Improvements$630,000
Claiborne CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
Clay CountyEMS Improvements$206,706
CookevilleSewer System Improvements$580,675
DecaturWater System Improvements$630,000
DecherdEmergency Warning System$130,500
DucktownWater System Improvements$630,000
EnglewoodSewer System Improvements$630,000
EnvilleHousing Rehabilitation$525,000
Grand JunctionSewer System Improvements$209,760
GraysvilleFire Protection$420,000
Grundy CountySewer System Improvements$630,000
Hardin CountyFire Protection$290,112
HarrimanWater System Improvements$630,000
HarrogateSewer Line Extension$474,030
Henderson CountyFire Protection$288,176
HuntsvilleSewer System Improvements$630,000
JacksboroSewer System Improvements$630,000
JamestownSewer System Improvements$630,000
Jefferson CitySewer System Improvements$629,993
Jefferson CountyEMS Improvements$420,000
Johnson CountyEMS Improvements$293,582
Lauderdale CountyWater System Improvements$547,662
Lawrence CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
LawrenceburgStreet Light Improvements$268,180
LewisburgSewer System Improvements$450,000
LoudonSewer System Improvements$630,000
LuttrellSewer System Improvements$524,342
MasonWater Line Extension$431,935
Meigs CountyWater System Improvements$630,000
Monroe CountyWater Line Extension$630,000
Mount CarmelWater System Improvements$476,182
OakdaleEMS Improvements$290,535
Obion CountySewer System Improvements$564,000
OneidaWater System Improvements$630,000
Overton CountyFire Protection$420,000
PulaskiSewer System Improvements$630,000
Putnam CountyFire Protection$318,750
RutherfordWater System Improvements$276,854
SaltilloEmergency Warning System$112,601
SavannahSewer System Improvements$600,000
Sevier CountyWater System Improvements$215,426
Smith CountyEmergency Rescue Improvements$285,600
South CarthageHousing Rehabilitation$298,100
Spring CitySewer System Improvements$630,000
SpringfieldSewer System Improvements$630,000
StantonSewer System Improvements$513,188
SurgoinsvilleWater System Improvements$468,700
Tipton CountyEmergency Rescue Improvements$355,833
TusculumFire Protection$298,075
Unicoi CountySewer Line Extension$377,311
Van Buren CountyEMS Improvements$341,088
VanleerWater System Improvements$458,000
Warren CountyFire Protection$370,829

Korean power equipment maker buys Mitsubishi transformer plant in Memphis

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at an announcement that Korean electric power equipment maker HICO will buy a transformer plant in Memphis on Dec. 13, 2019. (Photo: Gov. Bill Lee’s office)

Korean electric power equipment maker Hyosung Heavy Industries is buying a Memphis transformer plant from Mitsubishi, which had planned to shutter the facility and lay off 160 workers. The HICO deal involves an $87 million investment and the creation of 410 jobs over the next seven years.

Here’s the release from state Department of Economic and Community Development:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Hyosung Heavy Industries (HICO) officials announced today that the company will locate its first U.S. production operations in Memphis.

HICO will invest $86.9 million and create 410 jobs in Shelby County over the next seven years.

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, HICO specializes in manufacturing electrical power equipment such as transformers, switchgear, flexible AC transmission systems and energy storage solutions. The company exports its products to customers around the globe and has established itself as one of the leading manufacturers in the power transformer business for the last 50 years.

Tennessee is home to more than 1,000 foreign-owned establishments that employ approximately 150,000 Tennesseans. Korea is among the top 10 countries for foreign investment in Tennessee, with Korean companies investing over $400 million in Tennessee since 2015.

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SmileDirectClub announces 2,000 jobs in Nashville

Gov. Bill Lee announces a 2,000-job expansion by clear teeth aligner SmileDirectClub in Nashville on March 20, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has announced clear teeth aligner SmileDirectClub will add more than 2,000 jobs in Nashville over the next five years. The new positions will be spread between the company’s downtown headquarters and other facilities in the Antioch community in southeast Davidson County.

There was no immediate word on the level of incentives offered to the company, which is spending $217 million on the expansion.

Here’s the full release from the Lee administration:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and SmileDirectClub officials announced today the company will invest $217 million to expand its headquarters and facilities in Middle Tennessee.

SmileDirectClub, the market leader and pioneer of doctor-directed, remote invisible aligner therapy, will create 2,010 new jobs in Nashville and Antioch over the next five years.

This is SmileDirectClub’s second expansion in Middle Tennessee in two years. In February 2017, the company announced a $4.5 million expansion across two Davidson County locations, which supported the creation of nearly 450 new jobs. Currently, SmileDirectClub employs more than 1,600 people in the Nashville area.

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State paying $17.5M to New York firm for moving to Nashville — along with targeted tax break

The state Department of Economic and Community Development has agreed to give $17.5 million to AllianceBernstein for moving its headquarters from Manhattan to Nashville, reports the Nashville Business Journal.   A bill approved by the legislature this year also gives the company a tax break that served to “sweeten” state support for the move, says the state’s ECD commissioner.

The Beacon Center of Tenessee, which has been crusading against “corporate welfare,” had urged that AllianceBernstein get nothing in the way of taxpayer-funded incentives. The global financal firm announced with Gov. Bill Haslam last month that it will bring 1,050 jobs to the state’s capitol city, investing about $70 million.

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Megasite waste water dumping site relocated after vocal local opposition

After vocal opposition from residents in and around the Tipton County community of Randolph, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, state officials are withdrawing their current plans for the Memphis Regional Megasite’s 35-mile long wastewater pipeline, reports the Memphis Daily News.

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TNECD hires representatives in France and Spain for total of 11 foreign recruiters

Press release from Department of Economic and Community Development

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community (TNECD) has announced the addition of two international representatives for Spain and France that will focus on attracting new foreign direct investment (FDI) to Tennessee.

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Haslam quip to Hagerty: Make Japanese crane TN official state bird

Bill Hagerty, former commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development and now U.S. Ambassador to Japan, says Gov. Bill Haslam once joked about replacing the mockingbird with the crane as Tennessee’s official state bird, reports WKRN. The red-crowned crane is the official national bird of Japan.

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ECD commissioner: Memphis Megasite needs another $72M in state funding

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe says another $72 million in state funding is needed to complete work on the Memphis Regional Megasite, reports the Jackson Sun. That would push total state investment in the 4,100-acre site, so far unused, well past the $200 million mark.

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State to spend another $2M on Megasite, seeking consultant to help

The state of Tennessee is asking for $2 million next year to whip the Memphis Regional Megasite into shape, a process that will include hiring an outside consultant to assess why the decade-long project hasn’t yet landed a major manufacturer, reports WPLN. The state has already spent about $140 million on the Megasite.

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Boyd approved $1M grant to state Senate candidate’s company; Company PAC gave Boyd $5K

Shane Reeves, a Murfreesboro businessman seeking the GOP nomination in state Senate District 14, sent Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial campaign a $5,000 donation a year after Boyd as economic and community development commissioner signed off on a $1 million state grant to Reeves’ company, reports Tennessee Star.

The Star says this has unnamed “political observers” questioning whether Boyd “used his previous office as a platform to prepare a gubernatorial campaign by directing state grants to local officials and businesses who might, and in many cases have, support his run for governor.”

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