Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Washington County recognized as gold sustainable community by TVA

Sept. 12, 2013 – Washington County has earned a gold rating in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new “Valley Sustainable Communities” program, and the designation should help the community better compete for jobs and investment.
The gold level designation recognizes that a community has taken a leadership role in implementing sustainable practices and has made a commitment to sustainability efforts focused on economic development.

A sustainability team with representatives from local governments, non-profit groups, the Johnson City Power Board, businesses and schools all worked closely with the WCEDC on an application after TVA introduced the program in January. The initiative helps communities evaluate their sustainable assets and programs, and encourages them to promote those and to increase their commitment to sustainability – all with an eye toward being more economically competitive in a world where those issues matter.
“Corporations are as concerned as ever with operating in a sustainable manner,” WCEDC Chairperson Lottie Ryans, a vice president with Century Link, said. “This designation, and the work our community does to improve and expand its sustainable assets, can provide a competitive edge as we work to attract new jobs and investment.”
TVA’s economic development arm plans to provide significant extra marketing resources to promote the designated communities across the Valley.
“TVA Economic Development’s mission is to work with our region’s communities to help them be prepared and differentiate themselves to better compete in global markets,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development.  “We plan to provide marketing resources to promote the designated sustainable communities.  These efforts will include online and direct mail to corporations that have shown commitment to sustainable business models.”

The Chairman and CEO of Kingsport-based Eastman Chemical Co., a Fortune 500 company with a verified track record of sustainability, welcomed the news that a nearby community had achieved the designation.
“As a company with a longstanding, strong commitment to sustainable practices, we know the many benefits of pursuing sustainability, and we know that practiced wisely, sustainability is economically beneficial,” Eastman’s Jim Rogers said. “We are pleased to learn that one of our local communities has pursued and attained TVA’s new program.”

With Tennessee’s oldest curbside recycling option, an innovative landfill gas-to-energy program, a growing greenway and green space network, and a growing focus on promoting sustainable development, the City of Johnson City played a major role in demonstrating to TVA’s consultant, Boyette Strategic Advisors, that Washington County merited the second-highest designation.
“We live in a beautiful environment here in Washington County, so it only makes sense to preserve our assets sustainably,” Johnson City Mayor Dr. Ralph Van Brocklin said. “As Tennessee’s first ‘Green City,’ Johnson City has shown a strong commitment to sustainable practices, as have other important institutions and businesses throughout the county. It’s gratifying to see that commitment recognized, and we look forward to promoting that designation in our economic and community development efforts.”
 The goal of the program is to increase the likelihood that communities will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies planning to invest in new or expanded business locations. The Johnson City Power Board’s sustainable initiatives also contributed to the successful application, and its CEO, Jeff Dykes said he anticipates further emphasis on sustainable energy practices in the future.
“I’m glad TVA is encouraging this aspect of economic development,” Dykes said. “Being a part of the application process and seeing ETSU, the City, Jonesborough, Mountain States Health Alliance, environmental advocates and Washington County all around the table with us was an encouraging sign that the whole community is serious about sustainability.”
Learn more at or by contacting the WCEDC’s Jeff Keeling at (423) 794-9173 or

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