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Grant money keeps landing at Aerospace Park

Hank Hayes • Jan 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM

BLOUNTVILLE – Grant money keeps landing at Aerospace Park at the Tri-Cities Airport.

The Tri-Cities Airport Authority (TCAA) announced on Monday it has been awarded a $1.69 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) Aeronautics Economic Development Fund to further the development of Aerospace Park, the airport’s aviation-related economic development project.

Site preparation of 73 acres of Aerospace Park began last fall.

Officials say it will be a “build-ready” development that could attract up to 2,000 jobs. Construction is slated for completion by the end of 2020.

Last year, the airport got a TVA grant of $350,000, a Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development grant of $500,000, plus TDOT grant funds totaling $4.1 million.

TDOT’s grant funding should allow TCAA to complete the final phase of construction, including final grading, access roads and utilities for the Aerospace Park development project, according to an airport release.

The Airport Authority and the airport’s former owners — Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, and Sullivan and Washington counties — signed an agreement in November 2017 backing bonds to also pay for the job.

“Aerospace Park is an important economic development project for our region, and we appreciate the commitment Gov. (Bill) Haslam and TDOT Commissioner (John) Schroer have made to its success through the award of this grant,” said Dr. Jon Smith, TCAA chairman. “We also greatly appreciate the support and hard work our legislative delegation, community partners and staff have devoted to this project.”

The purpose of the TDOT Fund is to advance job creation and investment opportunities in aerospace industry, which helps Tennessee’s airports continue to be important economic development engines for their regions and the state.

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