County receives state ‘corporate attraction’ grant

Published 5:00 pm Monday, February 6, 2017


Thanks to a grant from the state, Carter County will soon have some new tools in its arsenal when it comes to attracting new businesses and jobs to the community.
On Monday, Carter County Leon Humphrey announced Carter County had been selected to receive a Marketing Assistance Program grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
The grant program allowed the counties to apply for the grant under a variety of different proposals.
“The county selected corporate attraction because we have a great organization working on tourism,” said Susan Robinson, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development. “It involves the creation of a brand new website as well as a video to help promote all of Carter County.”
The professionally shot and produced video will provide a comprehensive look at what Carter County has to offer to industries and businesses considering making the county their home.
Robinson said the video will feature businesses and industries already located in Carter County, education programs such as the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and the abundant natural resources the community has to offer.
Last year, Robinson said she and Humphrey presented the Carter County Commission with a proposal that would have contracted Design Sensory to produce a promotional video for the county. Robinson said Design Sensory is a Knoxville-based firm that has created promotional content for communities across the state, including Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, as well as state agencies such as the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The video production came with an estimated price tag of $60,000.
The proposal fell one vote shy of getting the Commission’s approval.
“We were discouraged, but we still had hope,” Robinson said.
When the grant opportunity came up, both Robinson and Humphrey had renewed hope the County could get its promotional video.
“This was our goal — to be able to put together a video to market all of Carter County,” Humphrey said. “We just couldn’t do it without this grant.”
“This is a major positive for Carter County,” he added. “We’re tired of being America’s best-kept secret.”
Humphrey said the county currently has an excellent website which contains information for the public to assist them in accessing needed information or services. The grant will create an all-new website geared to promoting the County to industries and businesses. The new website will serve as the vehicle for the promotional video, according to Humphrey.
The state has already helped several communities launch new websites for corporate attraction, Robinson said.
“There were about 12 counties selected for the pilot program last year,” Robinson said, adding that neighboring Johnson County was one of those tapped to try out the program.
The Johnson County website, which can be found at, showcases what Johnson County offers to potential industries and businesses.
“It makes Johnson County look great, and that’s what we need in Carter County,” Humphrey said.
No specific dollar amount was set on the grant, according to both Humphrey and Robinson. Rather, the state selected Carter County and will contract with the agency to produce the video and new website.
“The state will fund it, whatever the price tag is,” Robinson said. “It will be a partnership between the state and the county and the state will come in and work alongside us.”
In addition to creating the new website, Robinson said state officials and the contract company will provide her with training to be able to maintain and update the website so the most current information is always available.

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