Southeast Tennessee Development District
Oct 11 - mkamplain
D. Gary Davis
Together Everyone Achieves More is the concept that is put into effect everyday by the board and staff of the Chattanooga Area Regional Council of Governments. This amazing organization may also be better known as the Southeast Tennessee Development District. I have had the opportunity and the honor of serving as this vital organization’s chairman for the past 5 years and was re-elected this past month to continue as Chairman.
Local elected officials from across the 9 counties convene quarterly, with their staff, to address opportunities and challenges which will improve the quality of life for all citizens. The SETDD staff provide the additional professional capacity to our local communities while assisting with strategic planning, community, economic & workforce development to help us all deliver vital services to families and also to aging and disabled citizens.
A few of the highlights from this year’s work that has been achieved as a TEAM is included in today’s article. In conjunction with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, through the Smart Communities Initiative, 17 projects were completed ranging from plans for parks for recreation to legal research and policy analysis on behalf of local governments. The Community and Economic Development Staff developed, and administered, countless grant applications including 18 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications totaling over $12 million that will serve approximately 108,000 residents. The Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association staff launched a new promotional video and also published a new regional Waterfall Brochure & Outdoor Recreation Guide. Southeast Tennessee Industrial Development Association (SEIDA) staff facilitated 6 new industrial locations & 13 expansions that resulted in $488,800,000 in new capital investment with the resulting creation and/or retention of 2,451 jobs. A new affordable housing program was started and a regional EPA Brownfields Program also got underway. This will allow local governments the ability to successfully complete the necessary environmental assessments on properties prioritized for redevelopment.
The Southeast Tennessee Career Centers served over 46,000 citizens and assisted 16 regional manufacturers with "On the Job Training Grants”. This was simultaneously performed while also coordinating summer work experience for 117 young people at 62 worksites. As an initial point of entry for accessing services, the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability provided information and also made referrals for 7,357 individuals, counseled 7,838 individuals concerning Medicare Part D information and then also through the State of Tennessee Health Insurance Assistance Program made it possible that over 2,000 seniors received meals delivered to them on a daily basis and another 5,000 were given help and access through a vast array of various programs.
If you have made it to this point of today’s Article I hope that you also know and understand that no one person, or organization could deliver all of these services, much less the activity needed to achieve these goals of service to each of our citizens. But working together as a TEAM, with "each one reaching one” these kinds of success stories not only become more attainable, they have become a reality. I am honored to continue to serve as the Chairman of the high performing, dedicated and passionate TEAM that includes my elected colleagues, all those that serve as board and advisory members, staff, funding and other public, private and philanthropic partners. The many contributions made by ALL insure not only our regional success, but this TEAM and each of YOU working together will continue to keep Bradley County as Tennessee at its best!
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