Downtown Morristown Building Owners Selected for State Grant
Last month, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) named the recipients of Tennessee Historic Development Grants. This grant program’s goal is to provide funding for projects that aim to renovate and preserve historic buildings across the state. It encourages communities and private developers to invest in buildings that have contributed to a community’s history but now sit idle. These buildings can once again contribute to the economy through job creation and commercial opportunities.
Morristown announced at a media conference on March 3rd that of the $8.7 million awarded to communities across the state, five Morristown building owners were chosen to receive a total of $1,729,340 towards the rehabilitation and revitalization of their properties.
TNECD partnered with the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) to review grant applications to ensure that each proposal would rehabilitate the structures while maintaining the historical integrity. Applicants had to meet certain criteria, including that properties had to qualify as certified historic structures.
“The Tennessee Historical Commission is proud to have the opportunity to provide assistance in this program to ensure that the legacy of Tennessee’s historic landmarks continue to inspire generations to come,” said Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission and state historic preservation officer.
Much of the work being done on the Downtown Morristown buildings through this grant involves improvements to the second floors of these historic spaces. Morristown is known for its unique Skymart sidewalk system, a feature added to Morristown in the 1960s that accesses the second levels via an elevated sidewalk. In recent years, many of the second level spaces have sat vacant, but with the help of this grant, and their own investments, several of Morristown’s downtown business owners will bring new life to these spaces. Rehabilitation through the grant will see apartment and loft spaces as well as new event venues being brought to Morristown’s downtown.
Marshall Ramsey, President of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce said, “These projects represent an incredible investment in downtown Morristown. Aside from the grant funding, each project also includes an investment of matching funds by the recipients. And after the projects are completed, they have a lasting economic impact through the creation of residential spaces, new venue space, and employment opportunities – literally creating more opportunities to live, work, and play in downtown.”
The five Morristown grant recipients include the following:
133 W. Main Street: Ashland Holdings LLC – $400,000 to rehabilitate the J.W. Arnold Building
103 W. Main Street: KBD, LLC – $400,000 to rehabilitate the Felknor Building
177 W. Main Street: Kenneth B Smith FLP – $129,340 to rehabilitate 177 West Main Street
148 W. Main Street: Randall B Debord dba Debord Enterprises – $400,000 to rehabilitate the J.G. McCroy 5 & 10 Cent Store
113 E. Main Street: Rhonda D Click dba 109 Lofts – $400,000 to rehabilitate the Sheeley Piano Building