SURGOINSVILLE — Hawkins County has been awarded a $15,000 grant through the state’s Three Star program to help equip a new sheriff’s substation within the fire hall at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park.
Rogersville Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Barker, who oversees Hawkins County’s Three Star program, told the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board Thursday that when the award was announced last week, she sent the paperwork to the state that same day.
Barker said it will take about 30 days to process the grant paperwork through the state, after which work can begin on equipping the new substation.
Why is a police presence needed at Phipps Bend?
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told the Times News he will use the grant funds to outfit that office with a computer, software, copier, office furniture, communications, signage and anything else needed to convert the Phipps Bend fire station office into a sheriff’s substation.
“I think having a substation at Phipps Bend will help keep down some of the vandalism, sewage dumping, speeding and drug trafficking,” Lawson said. “The officers’ presence will be in there more often. Not only will it benefit the industrial park, it will benefit my officers between Rogersville and Church Hill. It’s kind of in the middle, so that will be a place for them to stop and take a break and do their reports.”
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office currently has substations at the Clinch Volunteer Fire Department, Church Hill City Hall and the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department on Route 31. The Bulls Gap substation was located in the bank, but Lawson said that substation is no longer open due to the bank closing down.
What is the Three Star program?
During Thursday’s IDB meeting, Chairman Larry Elkins praised Barker and IDB Coordinator Rebecca Baker for the work they put forth to get the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Three Star award for Hawkins County every year.
Participation in the Tennessee Three Star program is based on an annual evaluation and activity plan.
Local community leaders and joint economic and community development boards are judged on their ability to implement activities that will impact the community’s competitiveness in a global economy.
What’s the advantage of Three Star status?
Being awarded Three Star status improves a community’s grant eligibility and provides other economic development advantages.
“I think a lot of people just assume that it’s a given that we’re going to get it, and there’s a tremendous amount of work associated with it,” Elkins said. “We appreciate the effort, and it’s certainly going to a good cause. Establishing the substation there for the sheriff’s office has really excited the participants in the industrial park about having a police presence at the park at any given time. We think that will help with several issues that go on up there.”
Elkins added, “That is a fire department, EMS center and sheriff’s substation, all in one building and someone will be there at any given time during the day.”