|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||1||$322,308|
|Regional Innovation Program||1||$499,885|
Decherd, TN - The decline in a once thriving coal industry has resulted in significant regional economic impact in south central Tennessee and northeast Alabama. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s closure of the Widows Creek Power Plant in Jackson County, Alabama, resulted in the loss of more than 500 jobs for area residents. To compound Widow’s Creek closure, Franklin County also experienced significant layoffs at a local mine, which operated specifically to supply limestone to the Widows Creek plant. The local economy of Franklin County and neighboring counties has long been afflicted by high unemployment rates and a low pay scale for those that are employed. According to recent Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development reports, the region has sustained over 400 job losses in the last 24 months from companies that have had layoffs or closed completely. The significant loss of jobs has resulted in the need to foster economic development in the City of Decherd through support of growing industry clusters, particularly job growth through support of expanding industries.
In August 2017, EDA invested $1,000,000 in Public Works funds to the City of Decherd to expand treatment capacity and make improvements to the Decherd Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project also received additional Federal support through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and a loan from the USDA Rural Development, as well as State support through the HUD Community Development Block Grant program. In order to foster area job growth, the City needed to upgrade critical infrastructure to support industry location and expansion, particularly expansion of the county’s largest private regional employer. The auto-maker’s expansion posed significant issues for the City’s aging wastewater treatment plant due to the company’s wastewater discharge periodically exceeding the plant’s hydraulic capacity.
The EDA investment will provide the necessary infrastructure that will create an environment that will support future expansion plans at the company, as well as make the area more competitive in terms of expansion of existing industries and attraction of new job opportunities. The auto-maker’s power train assembly plant in the City of Decherd employs over 1,600 employees regionally, and its planned expansion is anticipated to add an additional 50 new employees and leverage $115,000,000 in private investment. Additionally, it will foster higher paying wages in an area that has suffered economic downturn due to industry changes, and support the continued growth of industry clusters that promote economic growth in the region.