PIKEVILLE, TN (WDEF-TV) Bledsoe County welcomed Governor Bill Haslam to town today to make an announcement that will benefit the area economically.
The governor and Tennessee Department of Agriculture officials announced Bledsoe County and the City of Pikeville will receive a $59,200 grant to help fund the construction of a new farmer's market pavilion similar to Chattanooga’s “Tennessee Pavilion.”
It was a huge turnout in Pikeville to hear the news of this Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program grant.
Governor Haslam said this helps in two ways.
"One it helps get great fresh Tennessee product in consumers hands,” said Haslam. “Second, it provides for our farming community which is incredibility important to us as a state."
He added it also provides an economic boost to Bledsoe County.
It's no secret that that rural areas of our state have struggled a little more."
This catalyst could re-energize the economy in Bledsoe County mainly because it would draw crowds to Pikeville's downtown according to Ed Harlan of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
"It will be a gathering place for the [for everyone] not only for the farmers market there will be other community activities,” Harlan said. “It will serve somewhat as a magnet for this area."
Local downtown shops like Stephens Pharmacy agree and can't wait to see this change.
"The local venders from off the mountain will be able to come down and sell here which would increase a lot of traffic downtown which will also help the local business here. It's a win, win for everybody,” said Bradley Hargis, and employee at Stephen Pharmacy.
The win, win continues because Ed Harlan said what you see in Pikeville may only be the beginning.
"What we're seeing across the state is people are more and more interested in fresh food, fresh fruits and vegetables."
Because of that trend, Haslam is pushing for similar project throughout the state.
Governor Haslam also added he wants Tennessee to be a leader in agriculture in the South.