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ETSU Awarded $145K ‘Transportation Enhancement Grant’

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, Office of Gov. Bill Haslam, Aug. 18, 2011:

Grant to Fund Miocene Habitat at Gray Fossil Site Visitor Center

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined state and local leaders today to announce the award of a $145,026 transportation enhancement grant to East Tennessee State University for the Miocene Habitat at the Gray Fossil Site Visitor Center in Washington County.

The Miocene Habitat at the Gray Fossil Site Visitor Center includes outdoor enhancements to the visitor center, such as a welcome sign, signage for self-guided tours, landscaping, irrigation, picnic shelters, art, and ADA accessibility. This project represents the completion of the grounds and visitor amenities for the visitor center.

“In its three year history, the Gray Fossil Site Visitor Center has welcomed more than a quarter of a million visitors from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries,” Haslam said. “This project completes a monumental effort to preserve this historic site and create a unique educational opportunity for those who visit.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“Through Transportation Enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $259 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Established by Congress in the early 1990s, the program supports activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system.”

A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.

Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Rep. Dale Ford (R-Jonesborough) and Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) represent Washington County in the Tennessee General Assembly.