During the months of April and May, UT CIS facilitated follow up meetings with the 23 distressed counties that participated in the Asset Based Planning (ABP) community forums in 2016. Representatives from UT CIS, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Development Districts met with community leaders to review the progress made on their ABP goals, identify priority goals for 2018, and determine action items that could be undertaken over the coming year to advance their goals.
Counties have worked diligently to move their goals forward and engage resources. Unique projects are underway in all 23 counties that capitalize on their economic development assets, such as transforming the former Brushy Mountain prison in Morgan County into a tourism venue, developing a former railroad in Grundy County into a multiuse trail, and developing new markets for the forest industry in Wayne County.
“The progress the counties have made, in a relatively short period, is extremely impressive. It is exciting so see the goals being achieved” noted Kathy Barber, who coordinates the Asset Based Planning initiative for UT CIS.
So far, 44 counties have participated in the Asset Based Planning program.