USDA Awards Loans to Support Rural Economic Development

Kathy Smith
Release Date
Apr 15, 2015

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah today announced the award of $4 million in loan funds to the City of Sevierville Sevier County Electric System to promote rural economic development.

 “USDA partners with communities across the country to create greater economic impact for rural Americans,” said Mensah. “These funds will help the City of Sevierville assist local businesses to expand and to increase production and manufacturing capacity boosting economic development.”

 The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Through the REDLG program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. These revolving loan funds broaden the program's reach and create a multiplier effect for its impact. Eligible applicants are USDA Rural Utilities Service borrowers.

KaTom Restaurant Supply Co. is receiving a $2 million loan to renovate a warehouse and create a training center for employees and for customers who buy their commercial kitchen equipment. This project will add 15 employees to the company's workforce.

A $2 million loan to PARC Pigeon Forge will be used to renovate and expand NASCAR SpeedPark in Sevierville adding Go Karts and rides.

“We would like to thank the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program for making this loan possible.  These funds, obtained through the assistance of USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and Area Director Joe Woody, will give NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains the ability to positively impact Sevier County through continued expansion of our facilities and attractions, job creation, and economic growth. We have been blessed that our park not only brings people together to create treasured family memories but that it also enhances the lives of people who live and work in our community,” said PARC  Pigeon Forge, LLC President and CEO Randal Drew.  “We are thankful for the new relationships that we have made during this process, look forward to working together on future opportunities, and to expanding our business and growing our workforce.”

“Tourism is a huge economic driver throughout Sevier County and East Tennessee,” said Congressman Phil Roe.  “These funds from the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program will help bring more jobs and tourism dollars to the region as well as more manufacturing jobs.  I thank the leaders in Sevier County and at the USDA for their continued efforts to bring economic development to the First District.”

Others participating in the event included Senator Lamar Alexander's Field Representative Jane Chedester, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters, and Sevier County Electric Manager Rick Harrell.

USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty.  Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee, investing more than $5.4 Billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.

For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Northeast Tennessee contact the Greeneville Area Office at 423.638.4771 x 4, or 800-342-3149 x 1490. Visit us online at