Community and Rural Development
The Community Development Department staff assists local municipalities and county governments in identifying community needs, developing effective community development strategies, researching available funding opportunities, and implementing plans to address those needs.
Our community development staff is involved in such diverse activities as keeping the downtown areas of our communities thriving, working to preserve our historic buildings, securing grants for much needed infrastructure improvements, and assisting to improve our public facilities. Explore the pages in this section of our site to learn more about the vital activities of the SCTDD’s Community Development division.
Rural Planning Organization (RPO)
Federal law requires states to consult and coordinate with local officials in rural areas of the state. Tennessee formed Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) statewide in 2005 to enhance state- and regional-level partnerships in the state’s rural areas for transportation planning purposes. Funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process.
Through the Long Range Planning Division, the Regional Planning Office is responsible for the statewide coordination and oversight of the transportation planning process in Tennessee’s twelve RPO areas.
RPOs serve a similar function as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) for the rural areas of the state. The purpose of an RPO is to involve local officials in multimodal transportation planning, through a structured process, to ensure quality, competence, and fairness in the transportation decision-making process. RPOs consider multimodal transportation needs on a local and regional basis, review long-term needs as well as short-term funding priorities, and make recommendations to TDOT.
RPOs assist TDOT with the following the duties:
- Develop, in cooperation with the TDOT, comprehensive transportation plans
- Provide a forum for public participation in the transportation planning process
- Develop and prioritize suggestions for projects that the organization believes should be included in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
- Provide transportation-related information to local governments and other interested organizations and persons
Tennessee’s RPOs are Center Hill, Dale Hollow, East Tennessee North, East Tennessee South, First Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee, Northwest Tennessee, South Central East, South Central West, Southeast Tennessee, and Southwest Tennessee.
RPO responsibilities are administered by an Executive Board and a Technical Committee. The Executive Board provides policy direction, and membership includes locally-elected officials and a state senator and state representative. The Technical Committee provides technical expertise and is comprised of professional planners and engineers from local governments and other transportation-related agencies.
Rural Planning Organization (RPO) / Infrastructure Support (TACIR)
The SCTDD assists local governments in identifying and applying for loans/grants to address public infrastructure needs. Funding opportunities usually include Small Cities Community Development Block Grants, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grants, U.S.D.A. Rural Development grants, and the State Revolving Loan Program.
As well, through a contract with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, SCTDD prepares a listing of public infrastructure needs in the south central Tennessee region.
One of our most significant contributions to infrastructure improvement, however, is the administration of two Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) that serve the Eastern (Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore) and Western (Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Perry, and Wayne) parts of the district. These RPOs enhance the professional and organizational development of rural transportation planners and others by providing information, peer networking and research initiatives. Regular meetings are held to disucss matters related to rural transportation planning and development.
For more infomration, please contact:
Preserving the downtown areas of our small towns is one vital mission of the SCTDD. District personnel meet with local officials to assist in developing downtown revitalization plans, identifying funding opportunities, identifying technical assistance, and preparing grant proposals to make sure our public squares and town centers remain the bustling and vibrant focus of the municipalities across our area.
We maintain a historic preservationist on staff, and through a contract with the Tennessee Historical Commission, the SCTDD provides technical assistance with historic preservation projects, National Register of Historic Places nominations, and environmental reviews. Securing our heritage for future generations through the preservation of important architecture and historical sites is another important service of the SCTDD.
In addition, the SCTDD assists local governments in identifying and applying for funding for other community needs such as emergency operation centers, welcome centers, drainage, fire trucks, and the like. The SCTDD helps our communities to make them friendlier, more welcoming and safer.
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Elizabeth McLeod
Solid Waste Program
The Solid Waste Act of 1991 directed that counties in Tennessee each develop a plan that addresses solid waste management. The Act mandated a 25 percent reduction of municipal solid waste that is deposited in local landfills.
The SCTDD contracts annually with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Community Services to provide planning assistance to county officials. Our staff assists county Solid Waste Directors, Solid Waste Advisory Boards, county elected officials and solid waste recyclers in implementing the approved 10-year county Solid Waste Management Plan.
Technical assistance is available through our solid waste planner in many areas related to solid waste, including the following:
- Designing, implementing, upgrading and maintenance of solid waste programs and facilities
- Evaluating various end-use and disposal options for waste tires
- Needs assessment evaluation for the county or region
- Promotion and preparation for a household hazardous waste collection event
- Various other issues such as siting and permitting convenience centers, starting recycling programs, providing minor technical assistance on landfill issues or by referring the official to others that have information relevant to the issue on which assistance is needed.
The District provides the research, preparation, submission and administration of grants related to solid waste. This service extends to tire recycling grants, used oil recycling grants, planning grants, recycling rebate grants, recycling equipment grants and various other solid waste related grants as they become available. Equipment grants can include many items including recycling trailers, recycling containers, brush chippers, leaf vacuums, bailers, bobcats, oil burner heating units, tow motors as well as other small items of equipment.
For more information, contact:
Special Projects/Solid Waste Coordinator
Please Review and Comment on Housing and Community Development Activities in Tennessee
In the recently released 2022-2023 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) describes how federal CDBG, ESG, HOME, HOPWA, and HTF funds were spent on housing and community development activities to benefit low and moderate income Tennesseans. A draft of this report will be available for public review and comment at https://thda.org/research-reports/consolidated-planning from September 6 – 22, 2023. An overview of the report in English and Spanish will also be available, along with details about a public meeting on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Please send questions and accommodation requests to Research@thda.org.
Favor de Revisar y Comentar sobre las Actividades de Vivienda y Desarrollo Comunitario en Tennessee
En el recientemente publicado Informe Consolidado de Desempeño y Evaluación 2022-2023 (CAPER, por sus siglas en inglés), la Agencia de Desarrollo de Vivienda de Tennessee (THDA, por sus siglas en inglés) describe cómo fondos federales de CDBG, ESG, HOME, HOPWA y HTF fueron usados en actividades de vivienda y desarrollo comunitario para beneficiar a habitantes de Tennessee de bajos y moderados ingresos. Un borrador de este informe estará disponible para su revisión pública y comentarios en https://thda.org/research-reports/consolidated-planning del 6 al 22 de septiembre de 2023. Un resumen del informe también estará disponible en inglés y español junto con detalles sobre una reunión pública el jueves, 21 de septiembre de 2023. Favor de enviar sus preguntas y solicitudes para ajustes a Research@thda.org.
THDA’s Great Choice Loan Program offers 30-year, fixed rate mortgages and down payment assistance to eligible first-time, repeat and military homebuyers. Borrowers must meet certain requirements and conditions, including credit history, income limits and cost of home. http://thda.org/homebuyers/homebuyers
TNHousingSearch.org is Tennessee’s free housing locator. It is free for landlords to list housing, and free for tenants to search for housing. Affordable (income based and properties) and market rate properties, including those that accept Housing Choice Vouchers, may be found on the site. The service is ADA Title II 508 compliant; works with assistive technology; uses Google to translate content into almost 100 languages. For those needing additional listing or search assistance, a toll-free, bilingual call center is available
The Community Programs Division administers a variety of housing programs supported through federal, and state THDA funding. The Division awards grants to local governments and non-profit agencies to meet the housing needs of low income Tennesseans. http://thda.org/business-partners/partners
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) or “Section 8 Voucher” program is a federal rental assistance program funded through HUD where very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled receive assistance to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. As a state housing agency, THDA administers the Housing Choice Voucher program in 72 Tennessee counties, between 4 regional offices. http://thda.org/renters/renters
For more information, please contact Rental Housing Programs at 615-815-2164
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is a credit against federal income tax liability each year for 10 years for owners and investors in the development of low-income rental housing. The amount of tax credits is based on reasonable costs of development, as determined by THDA, and the number of qualified low-income units.
For statewide and county-based information about housing and housing affordability, the THDA Research and Planning Division has multiple resources to gain insight into the state’s housing market. https://thda.org/research-planning/research-planning
Community Development Helpful Links
The South Central Tennessee Community Development staff provide links to common services and information available for your connivence.
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
- Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
- Tennessee Department of Transportation
- Tennessee Division of Recreation
- Tennessee Historical Commission
- Tennessee Housing Development Agency
- U.S.D.A. Rural Development