County, Chamber Partnership Brings State Grant Success

Union County Chamber

A partnership between Union County government and the Union County Chamber of Commerce has reaped rewards this summer. In April, Union County Mayor Mike Williams' office and the Chamber applied for an asset enhancement grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic Development, a grant program aimed at helping counties identified as "distressed" by high unemployment rates, low per capita incomes and other factors.

Twenty grants were awarded, and each county could apply for up to $50,000. Nearby, Campbell and Claiborne counties were also awarded grants. The grant recipients were announced in early June 2017.

According to interim Chamber president Thomas Skibinski, the Chamber will use the bulk of Union County's grant award to hire a marketing firm to create a professional branding and marketing plan for Union County, including logos and digital platforms for marketing towards tourism, business relocation and potential residents.

"There seems to have been several attempts at branding over the years, and things have kind of stopped and started," said Skibinski. "We want to select the strongest parts of Union County and have that be the focus and just keep building on top of one single message."

The Mayor's office will use $12,000 for improvements to Wilson Park so it can be better used as an event venue. Williams said sound equipment has already been purchased from at a good price, including speakers, control panel and cables. They're still pricing wireless speakers that could be placed around the park. Williams also met with KUB about lighting upgrades at the park, including moving some light poles to create more usable space, upgrading to LED lights, and adding lights in the back half of the park behind the pavilion.

"I spoke with (KUB's Ed Medford), and he's seeing that park being used more and more," said Williams. "But it's still underutilized. It's got a good, central location and plenty of parking."

Williams hopes to have all upgrades in place in time for Thunder in the Park, a music and fireworks festival set for Sept. 2, in Wilson Park.

Williams and Skibinski attribute the grant award to the partnership between county and Chamber, and Williams said lack of partnership with other organizations could have pushed the county over the top on grants they missed in the past.

"Anytime you can do something in partnership with another group, I think you feel more inclusive, and I think you've got more activity," Williams said. "We've been close on a couple, but you learn more from losing than you do winning. Sometimes it was the participation aspect. They want to see involvement from other local entities."

Skibinski agreed, saying, "If everyone can agree, it's easier to get to the end goal of increasing tax revenue without raising taxes. When everyone works together, outcomes are better. I'm very much excited to be working with the county on all this. It's a great opportunity to really get the ball rolling."


Other articles and events that may be of interest.

December 15 is the deadline for ACA 2018 health insurance enrollment. If you have health insurance for 2018, great! If not, you may want to check on ACA Marketplace Health Insurance for security and to avoid tax penalty. In 2015 Union County had a 18.8% uninsured rate among working age adults, much higher than the state average.

Read More
Gips Mill Contest Winner is Announced

The winner of the Gip's Mill contest is Deana Rutherford. Deana you have won a $20 gift certificate to Gip's Mill Country Store and Deli.

Read More
Man and Woman 2017

Last Saturday evening, a packed house enjoyed dinner catered by Pete's Place and witnessed the naming of the 2017 Union County Business & Professional Association Woman and Man of the Year. Cindy Wyrick chaired this year's committee.

Read More
Historic Booker Farm divided by Luttrell Corryton Rd. and the railroad.

The Booker Farm (circa 1750) located on Luttrell-Corryton Road in Union County was the second property in Union County to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read More
Maynardville Elementary School Group 1945

I knew it! I just knew when I wrote about tattooing that some of that had taken place in Union County and that I would get some feedback.

Read More
Corn Chowder

It seems that hard times are around for some of us sometimes and for others all the time. What made me think of that? Cream Style Corn in the 16-oz can. I received several cans from my son who doesn't like them.

Read More

A fond memory from my childhood is packing the whole family, and quite often several friends, into the vehicle nearing the Christmas season.

Read More

Take a look at your life today; and remember tomorrow, it’s history. Good or bad, it’s history.

Read More

The Parks & Recreation Board of Union County would like to thank all who came out to the Comprehensive Parks Master Plan Meeting on November 2nd.

Read More
Milan Dedication Sunday

THIS WEEK: Union County COLLECTION SITE OPENS to help GLOBAL Christmas project reach CHILDREN IN NEED.
Nov. 13 – 20: National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts.

Read More
The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.