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TCAT-Dickson Receives Almost $700K Workforce Development Grant

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; Sept. 23, 2013:

DICKSON – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $693,961 workforce development equipment grant for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Dickson and its new Clarksville expansion site.

The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development programs at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges, part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials.

These strategic investments resulted from the governor meeting with businesses and education officials across the state last fall to better understand workforce development needs. One of the most common themes he heard was the lack of capacity and equipment at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges to meet job demand, so these grants are aimed at addressing those gaps.

“Currently only 32 percent of Tennesseans have certificates or degrees beyond high school, and studies show that by 2025, that number must be 55 percent to meet workforce demands,” Haslam said. “We must have qualified Tennesseans to fill those positions, and these grants are going to have an immediate impact because these programs have high placement rates in fields that are looking to fill jobs now.”

The majority of the grant, $534,170, will go to both the Dickson and Clarksville locations to address the critical need for equipment in the Industrial Maintenance & Electricity Technology, Mechatronics, and Machine Tool Technology programs. The grant will allow the TCAT-Dickson to purchase training equipment for mechanical systems, electronics, industrial motor controls, hydraulics, pneumatics and wiring. Graduation from any one of these three programs prepares students for the workforce and provides up to 30 credit hours to transfer into a community college toward an Applied Associate Degree in General Technology.

The remaining $159,791 is for the TCAT-Dickson expansion site in Clarksville and equipping the school’s new welding/pipefitting and millwright programs to meet national accreditation standards. Completion of these programs provides a direct entry to the workforce and the ability to transfer 30 credit hours toward an applied associate degree. The equipment will help qualify program graduates in several different high-skill occupations.

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Haslam Hands Out $620K for ‘Pedestrian Amenities’ in Downtown Dickson

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; July 25, 2012: 

DICKSON – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer today announced a grant of more than $620,000 to improve the pedestrian experience in downtown Dickson.

The Transportation Enhancement grant is $627,782 and will go toward Phase II of the Downtown Improvement Project, located on Main Street (State Route 48) from Railroad Street to East Walnut Street.

The project will add pedestrian sidewalks with brick pavers, crosswalks, ornamental street lighting, and other pedestrian amenities. A portion of Main Street will also be resurfaced, and new landscaping will be added.

“This project will further Dickson’s efforts to give its downtown a more vibrant, inviting appearance,” Haslam said. “When complete, the project will have positive impacts on the local economy, making downtown areas more accessible to residents and visitors.”

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 program.

“Through transportation enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $270 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” Schroer said. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”

The grant is made possible through a federally-funded program administered by TDOT.

State Sen. Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) and state Rep. David Shepard (D-Dickson) represent Dickson County in the Tennessee General Assembly.

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Press Releases

TDOT Announces Dickson Co. Traffic Management Project

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation; June 8, 2012:  

Nashville, Tenn. — Following input from citizens, local and state officials and state and federal agencies, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has chosen to move forward with the Traffic Systems Management (TSM) alternative for the Southwest Dickson Bypass project in Dickson County. This decision means improvements will be made to existing roadways in Dickson, primarily along State Route 46, and a new road bypassing the city will not be constructed.

The TSM alternative consists of adding turn lanes to two intersections, synchronizing traffic signals, and evaluating the need for additional traffic signals at other locations along SR 46. The improvements are designed to reduce travel times and congestion by reducing intersection stops and delays.

In August 2011, the Federal Highway Administration approved the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) which identified and evaluated six proposed build alternatives and one no-build alternative to help alleviate traffic congestion in Dickson’s urban core. Based on input gathered from citizens at a series of public meetings and discussions with local and state officials, the TSM alternative was selected.

“With limited resources available, it’s important that we look at viable improvements to existing alignments rather than new facilities,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “I also want to make sure that projects have support of citizens and community leaders. In this case, we have identified a very cost-effective alternative that will address congestion and safety issues through the heart of Dickson.”

Moving forward, TDOT will publish a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Record of Decision (ROD), which will include final information and details on environmental requirements for implementing the TSM alternative. Once this plan is finalized and completed, which is anticipated in 2013, TDOT will move forward with the design phase for the project.

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Mr. Summerville Goes to Nashville

Even in this year of the Republican rout, the idea that a political nobody would unseat one of the state’s most prominent conservative rural Democrats would’ve seemed pretty far-fetched on election eve.

But Senator-elect Jim Summerville is a nobody no more. He pulled off what was arguably the biggest upset of the 2010 elections in Tennessee, knocking off Dickson Democratic state Sen. Doug Jackson by just under 1,000 votes.

Perhaps even more surprising is that to Summerville the outcome wasn’t all that big a surprise — although he did cop to being “kind of stunned” when he woke up last Wednesday.

In fact, though, the handwriting was on the wall after the Aug. 5 primary for all who cared to deconstruct it, said Summerville, an Austin Peay State University English instructor. Once all the primary election votes were tallied — 13,735 for Summerville, 12,542 for Jackson — he  started suspecting in earnest that his odds of winning weren’t as long as conventional wisdom would have put them.

In the following months, he ran a $2,400 campaign — compared to the incumbent senator who spent $13,000 in that same period of time, but ultimately headed into election day with $28,500 still in the bank.

Final score on Nov. 2: Summerville  21,436 votes, Jackson 20,528 — 51 percent to 49 percent.

But not only did Summerville catch his Democratic opponent flat-footed, the Republican Party didn’t take his chances of winning seriously, said Summerville, who emphasizes that he sees himself as a “citizen legislator” and regards the tea-party movement as a base of support.

“I do know that the (Republican) party apparatus did not work to recruit me and looked kind of askance at me, as like ‘Who are you?’” Summerville told TNReport at the Capitol in Nashville on Tuesday.

Republicans failed to realize the district’s potential for change, he said — and probably for good reason. “Sen. Jackson remains a popular man,” said Summerville. “He represented the district for a long time. Lots of friends, lots of contacts, lots of people, so I had an uphill fight, no question about it, but I could see it was doable.”