Tri-Cities TN Airport awarded $4.1 million grant to expand Aerospace Park

Tri-Cities TN Airport awarded $4.1 million grant to expand Aerospace Park

Blountville, TN.  The Tri-Cities Airport Authority has been awarded a $4.1 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Economic Development Fund, the airport authority said Thursday.

The purpose of the fund is to promote job creation and investment opportunities in the aerospace industry, according to a written statement.

The funds are to be used for the expansion of Aerospace Park, a 160-acre site adjacent to the airport that, when completed, will be marketed to attract firms from the aerospace industry to the region. Almost $23 million has already been invested to install utilities, construct an access road and grade 21 acres of the site.

Airport Executive Director Patrick Wilson said the city and county partnership to fund the park has generated a great return on investment.

“The regional cooperation demonstrated by Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee, and Sullivan County and Washington County in Tennessee helped set the Aerospace Park initiative apart from other projects,” Wilson said. “This regional partnership made it possible to attract such a large grant from TDOT.”

In November, the mayors of Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol, Tennessee, and the counties of Sullivan and Washington signed the Aerospace Park intergovernmental financing agreement, giving Tri-Cities Airport the go-ahead to purchase $8.5 million in revenue bonds to fund the expansion.  

Bristol, Tennessee, allocated almost $800,000 in its budget to help fund the almost $18 million project, Kingsport will pay just over $1.5 million, Johnson City and Washington County, Tennessee, will pay almost $2 million each, while Sullivan County’s portion is nearly $2.3 million. Bristol, Virginia, a member of the Airport Authority that governs the airport, declined to participate because of ongoing financial difficulties.The airport will use $8.5 million of funding provided by the city-county regional partnership, the $4.1 million grant from TDOT and a $350,000 grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for the next phase of the development.“This is a major step forward in developing a world-class site that will attract high-quality jobs and private sector investment,” Airport Authority Chairman Jon Smith said.

According to a written statement from the airport, engineering work for the next phase will start immediately and site construction could start as early as September.


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