TDEC Announces Recreation Trails Grant for Cocke County

Wednesday, June 09, 2021 | 02:17pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today announced a $192,220 recreation trails grant for Cocke County.

The grant is part of $1,892,642 in grants in Tennessee from the federally funded and state administered Recreation Trails Program (RTP). The state is also awarding $7,584,530 to communities throughout the state from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program.

“We are happy to announce grants that will enhance the outdoor experience in communities across our state,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “We want Tennesseans to enjoy recreational activity, and we recognize local leaders need funding to make it happen. These grants help meet that need.”

Cocke County is guaranteed the donation of a 1.7-acre tract of land for a park and will use adjacent county property for a river access ramp. The funds will be used for land clearing, hauling and spreading dirt, installing water and sewer service, and electricity. They will also go toward constructing a pavilion, gravel parking area, an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant parking space, ADA compliant access paths, and a greenway.

"I am excited to see this progress,” Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, said. “I worked with Ms. Tommye Dene Jones on the project for eight years. Ms. Jones was very passionate about this and even donated her property for this project. This was a significant project for her. The week before Ms. Jones died, Representative (Jeremy) Faison and I were able to tell her that we felt confident that this dream would become a reality. I would like to thank TDEC for all of their work and for helping to fulfill Ms. Jones' vision."

“Ms. Tommye Dene Jones was a good friend and neighbor to all in the Del Rio community and she would have been very proud to see this project become a reality,” Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, said. “Our parks and recreation amenities reflect the quality of life in our community and this is certainly is a fitting tribute to her memory. I am grateful to TDEC for their continued efforts to improve parks, facilities and trails across our state.”

The RTP grant program provides funds for land acquisition for trails, trail maintenance, trail construction, trail rehabilitation, and trail head support facilities. These grants are distributed in the form of an 80-percent grant with a 20-percent match.

The LPRF program provides state funding for the purchase of land for parks, natural areas, greenways, and recreational facilities. LPRF funds also may be used for trail development and capital projects in parks, natural areas, and greenways. The LWCF program provides grants to states to administer to state and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. These grants require a 50-percent match.