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Upper Cumberland Surpassed $45 Million In Grants In 2023, All Time High

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Upper Cumberland Surpassed $45 Million In Grants In 2023, All Time High

The Upper Cumberland received a record-breaking $45 million in grant money this year.

UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said that number does not include grants through private consultants, so the total amount is even higher. He said looking into the future to anticipate needs before they happen, has been key.

“We sit between three metropolitan areas, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, and there is a natural growth that is going to occur from those metropolitan areas,” Farley said. “I think you see it at the state level, and through that, they’re helping us grow and be ready for the future when that growth comes our way.”.

72 total grants have been submitted in 2023, with more potentially on the way before the year ends. Farley said American Rescue Plan money may inflate the final number, but the achievement has been integral to the region’s development nonetheless.

“I think with COVID dollars that are flowing through from the federal government, we have the opportunity to do some infrastructure, water/sewer projects that we never would have been able to do before, and a lot of these funds are directed in that direction,” Farley said. “I think that will make a huge impact, not only from an economic standpoint but just simply helping citizens have a better quality of life.”

Farley told county mayors Thursday that for every $1 they pay for UCHRA dues, there is a $600 return based on the grant totals. He said with that kind of return on investment, everyone should be excited to try to break the record once again next year.

Macon County and the city of Lafayette were awarded community of the year honors at the UCHRA board meeting Thursday. Farley said Macon County reeled in some $7.2 million in grant money alone.

“I think the main thing we have to do, as Chairman Heady talked about, is to keep focused on providing leadership, thinking into the future, trying to determine what these counties need to make our region grow, and I think we’ve got the great leadership in place across all 14 counties that will make that happen,” Farley said.


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