Economic & Community Development

The First Tennessee Development District provides economic and community development services to its eight-county region. Through grant writing, the District assists communities in obtaining funds. Since 1989, the District has assisted communities with funding of 678 grant and loan projects in the amount of $211.7 million. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the District assisted communities with 17 projects totaling $6.2 million. In addition, four business loans were also issues totaling $245,000.

The FTDD has completed several economic development grant applications on behalf of municipalities and counties in order to provide job opportunities. Any economic development infrastructure project involves several key people, including a mayor or county mayor, economic development professionals, funding agency representatives, company representatives, and engineers.

Infrastructure funding programs include the Appalachian Regional Commission, Tennessee Small Cities Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), TDEC Clean Tennessee Energy Grant (CTEG), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Transportation Alternatives (TA), Tennessee Department of Transportation Multi Modal (TDOT-MM) Local Parks Recreation Fund (LPRF), Recreation Trails Program (RTP), Tennessee Recreation Initiative Program (TRIP), Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDOA), and Tennessee Historic Commission (THC).

Economic Development

2019-2020 Economic Development Projects

The District has completed several community development grant applications on behalf of municipalities and counties. Community infrastructure programs include the Tennessee Small Cities Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Transportation Enhancement Act (TE), Local Parks Recreation Fund (LPRF), Recreation Trails Program (RTP), Tennessee Recreation Initiative Program (TRIP), Special Technical Assistance Grant (STAG) Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG).

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy was developed to serve as both a planning document and benchmarking tool for economic development within the FTDD region, which includes Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington Counties. The CEDS document is available here for review

Administrative Services

Receiving funding is always good news to a community; however, administrative guidelines of grant programs must be followed to make the project a reality. These administrative services include completing an environmental review, assisting with the bidding process, organizing requests for payment applications, assisting with acquisition, complying with labor standards, and completing the project close out. During the past year, the District provided administrative services for 40 projects.

Northeast Tennessee Economic Development Corporation

The non-profit lending corporation of the First Tennessee Development District is the Northeast Tennessee Economic Development Corporation. The purpose of NETEDC is to promote economic development through loan programs to businesses. A Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) was established in 1990 with funds from the Economic Development Administration and State of Tennessee. A Business Development Loan Fund (BDLF) was established in 1994 with funds from Rural Development (RD) and the state. The NETEDC established the Johnson City Downtown Redevelopment Loan Program in 2006 with funding from eight banks. More recently, the NETEDC established the Greeneville Downtown Redevelopment Loan Program to achieve similar goals in Greeneville. 

The programs help businesses through fixed-asset and permanent-working-capital financing. Through the loan programs, 116 companies have received funding of $8 million dollars. Combined, these companies have created 703 jobs to date. 

Below is a list of the current Board of Directors and Loan Committee of the NETEDC which reviews and oversees loan projects and the implementation loan programs.

Board of Directors

Russell Brackins

Dick Grayson

Steve Mears

Gerry O'Connor

Tom Olterman

Susan F. Reid

Allen Sprizter, Ph.D

Rick Story


Community Rep.

Home Trust Bank

Impact Plastics

City of Kingsport



Washington County

Loan Committee

Mark Bays

Bobby Brown

Jennifer Mitchell

Stephen Dixon

Michael C. Hill

Darren Murray

Ken Rea

Robert Williams


Mountain Commerce Bank

First Horizon Bank

Bank of Tennessee

Citizens Bank, Tri-Cities

Home Trust Bank


Home Trust Bank

For additional information about the District’s Economic & Community Development Programs, please contact Ken Rea, 423-928-0224.