The Valley Sustainable Communities Program is one of TVA’s community preparedness offerings. It assists communities in identifying and cataloging their sustainable assets and increasing their sustainability commitments. The economic development focus is to increase the community’s competitiveness when companies are looking to invest in new or expanded locations in the Valley. Boyette Strategic Advisors developed and is administering the program.
Sustainable economic development balances the need for economic growth with environmental and societal accountability. It ultimately offers benefits across a triple bottom line to ensure a healthy environment, a thriving community, and economic prosperity.
Athens/McMinn County has been designated as a Valley Sustainable GOLD Community. This signifies that Athens/McMinn County has community-wide sustainability initiatives in place, with some programs available to support the business community and economic development opportunities.
- McMinn County Sustainability Plan
- Business Recycle and Energy Audit
- Through its Comprehensive Services Program, the Athens Utility Board provides engineering and technical assistance to business and industry. The program covers all areas of energy use, including lighting, HVAC, wiring, water heating, industrial processes, load management, and commercial cooking, and also includes energy audits.
- Athens/McMinn County and the city of Englewood are working on a Rails to Trails Program that will allow participants to walk or bicycle from Athens to Englewood when completed.
- The wetland at E.G. Fisher Public Library was created to serve several functions including flood mitigation, wetland reclamation, stream bank restoration and others, as well as serve as an outdoor classroom. In this educational environment, wetland visitors, including school children, have the opportunity to become more environmentally aware and to gain a new appreciation for natural areas.
- The city of Athens participated in the Tennessee Downtowns Program, which is a downtown revitalization approach that allows communities to access technical assistance and the expert advice of Main Street professionals