Date: September 14, 2009
Source: The Tennessee Valley Authority
Economic Development Funds to Support Kingston Recovery
Roane County and its communities will receive approximately $40 million in economic development funds for locally identified projects as part of TVA's response to the Kingston ash spill.
TVA and the elected leaders of Roane County and its communities announced Monday that they are establishing the Roane County Economic Development Foundation to administer the funds provided by TVA. The elected leaders and TVA representatives will serve as the foundation's board and will set criteria for considering requests for the funding of projects.
"Our restoration effort in Roane County addresses not only the physical clean-up at the Kingston site, but also the economic development needs of the community," said Anda Ray, TVA's senior vice president for Environment & Research, who will serve on the foundation board. "TVA's support for economic development priorities in Roane County and its communities is an important part of TVA's commitment to contribute to the area's long-term development."
The foundation will operate much like a foundation for a not-for-profit organization, and its board must approve any project before it can be funded.
The foundation board will consist of four representatives from TVA and four elected leaders from the local partners -- Roane County, Kingston, Harriman and Rockwood. Those elected leaders are Roane County Executive Mike Farmer, Kingston Mayor Troy Beets, Harriman Mayor Chris Mason and Rockwood Mayor Jim Watts.
In addition to Ray, the TVA representatives on the foundation board are John Bradley, senior vice president for Economic Development; Bob Morris, vice president for Valley Relations; and Leslie Nale, Kingston Fossil Plant manager.
The group approved the foundation charter today and elected Troy Beets as chairman of the foundation board.
"This foundation offers an important opportunity for achieving local projects for the benefit of local citizens," said Mayor Beets. "As the foundation board, we will begin our work together by first considering the projects that our communities have identified as priorities."
Economic development projects in Roane County and the three cities could include infrastructure capital projects such as school, sewer and water projects, which would contribute to the long-term success of local communities.
"The people of Roane County appreciate this effort by TVA to support economic development as part of TVA's response to the ash spill," said Farmer. "Good economic development over the long-term depends on a strong public education system, and I am hopeful that some of these funds will help meet our local education needs."
Mayor Beets said, "The Kingston Fossil Plant and the people who work there are part of our community, and these economic development funds will help build a stronger economic base for everyone in our community as we move forward."
Adds Harriman Mayor Chris Mason, "We can put these funds to work to address a variety of local needs and support the recovery in ways that make a difference for the entire county and region."
Rockwood Mayor Jim Watts added that the funds demonstrate TVA's commitment to fully restoring and enhancing the community. "These funds give us the opportunity to deal with some of our area's most pressing economic development challenges. I'm looking forward to working with the other members of the foundation board to make the best use of these funds for the citizens we serve."
The economic development funds are in TVA's budget for the Kingston recovery and are in addition to TVA's commitment to address individual property owners' claims and business interruption claims. TVA has worked closely with Roane County and its residents since the ash spill occurred in December 2008.
Significant progress is being made in restoring the site of the spill. Removal of ash from the Emory River should be complete by spring of 2010, and the conversion of Kingston facilities for storing coal combustion byproducts to dry storage should be complete in late 2011.
TVA is the nation's largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River system to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
Barbara Martocci, Knoxville, (865) 632-8632
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000