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This story was updated at 6:43 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, with more information.

The Spring Branch Industrial Park in Bradley County has received a $1 million grant for grading and site preparation to help ready the largest parcel at the tract, officials said Monday.

Doug Berry, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce's vice president of economic development, said plans are to use the state grant money for a 55-acre parcel in the industrial park that's located off Interstate 75.

"We're trying to create pad-ready sites," Berry said of the new 331-acre industrial park. "We're seeing companies not willing to wait for a major grading job."

For example, he said, a luxury coach manufacturer who looked at the property decided to go to upper East Tennessee. The time it would take to grade and prepare the site was a factor, along with the industrial park's proximity to Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant, Berry said.

"We've had four good prospects look at that property," he said. "There's too much work remaining from a site standpoint."

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and state Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said that 10 communities collectively will receive more than $3.8 million in Site Development Grant funding.

Besides Bradley and Marion, other grants awarded in the latest round of awards are:

* City of Covington: Rialto Industrial Park, $420,000 – Water line replacement.

* City of Gallatin: Gallatin Industrial Park, $96,310 – Installation of a detention pond.

* City of Lexington: Reeves Property, $495,000 – Development of an industrial road.

* Industrial Development Board of the Counties of Cumberland, Morgan, and Roane Plateau Partnership Park: $1,000,000 – Water line extension.

* Industrial Development Board of The City of Fayetteville and Lincoln County Runway Center Industrial Park: $500,000 – Grade and prepare a site.

* Paris-Henry County Industrial Committee: American Colloid Site, $100,000 – Conduct due diligence studies.

* Washington County Industrial Park: $94,500 – Conduct due diligence studies

* City of Waynesboro: Waynesboro Industrial Park, $92,791 – Conduct due diligence studies.

The grant program is part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Act supported by the General Assembly for the last three years.

"I am excited to announce 10 Site Development Grant recipients, and I'm especially pleased that each recipient is a rural site," Lee said in a statement.

The grants are designed to help communities achieve Select Tennessee site certification and prepare industrial locations for economic development projects. The funding helps communities invest in infrastructure and engineering improvements on project-ready sites.

"Attracting industry to Tennessee's rural communities continues to be one of [Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's] main goals," Rolfe said. "With the assistance of the Site Development Grants, the 10 recipients will be able to better prepare their sites and increase their chances of recruiting new businesses to their communities."

Also receiving grants in the Chattanooga area was Marion County. It's to receive $66,047 for due diligence studies for its Nickajack Industrial Site & Port.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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