July 19, 2021
The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently applied on behalf of the DeKalb County Government for a $50,000 Three Star Grant to create a commercial kitchen and meeting spaces for the newly constructed DeKalb County Agriculture Building located on the grounds of the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Chamber Director, Suzanne Williams, received the phone call from State of TN Three Star Director, Jody Sliger, who delivered the well-received news that the grant has been awarded to DeKalb County.
This grant will provide the new Agriculture building the funding necessary to complete the interior space with meeting rooms, training areas, and a commercial kitchen that will offer a generous space to hold diverse events, trainings, sales, auctions, meetings, programs, etc. all throughout the year. An Ag Center Task Force will be formed to research resources, create entrepreneur courses for agriculture businesses, and to investigate agriculture-related resource enhancement for DeKalb County.
“We believe the economic impact of this project will be significant,” said Chamber Director Williams. “This multi-purpose ag building has the potential to be utilized in numerous ways including DeKalb Cattle Association events, equipment auctions, school functions, concerts and other entertainment-type events, culinary classes, 4-H development programs, cattle and horse sales, Senior Center events, community activities, birthday parties, family reunions, trainings, and much more.” Williams continued, “I am so grateful for the help from County Mayor Tim Stribling and DeKalb County Fair Association Board member, Jeff McMillen. Mayor Stribling helped provide information for the narrative and Jeff provided the construction plans and cost estimates. With the short timeline we had, I couldn’t have completed the grant without their invaluable help.”
County Mayor Stribling commented, “We are very thankful to the Three Star program for awarding DeKalb County this much-needed grant. We feel that DeKalb County businesses and especially the businesses community of Alexandria will highly benefit from the events held throughout the year at the Ag Center. The increased flow of visitors that will be attending the events will be a huge boost to Alexandria and other businesses throughout our county.”
Community Partners will include the DeKalb County Fair Association Board, DeKalb County Government, City of Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen, Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Alexandria Lions Club, DeKalb Cattlemen’s Association, U.T. Extension, DeKalb County 4-H, DTC Communications, Alexandria Senior Center reps, School Agriculture Students, local businesses, and many local volunteers and farmers. In addition, we will work closely with and seek input from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
Three Star is a strategic community development program developed to assist communities in preparing for a better future, for today and tomorrow – and for generations to come.