Congressman Lincoln Davis and USDA Rural Development State Director Mary "Ruth" Tackett announced on Monday $1,050,000 in funding was available for the Upper Cumberland Gas Utility District to expand service into three Cumberland County communities. The expansion also means an eventual increase in its capacity to meet future needs.

"Adequate public infrastructure is an important factor in providing a good quality of life and in making our communities attractive and well prepared for new economic opportunities," said Tackett. "Local leaders have done a great job planning for the future and working to make Cumberland County a great place for families and businesses."

The Rural Development funds will be used to construct a natural gas line extension consisting of 9.5 miles of new gas line and 5 miles of new service line. The project will initially serve 256 new users in Deer Creek, Sunset Ridge, and the Northridge area of Fairfield Glade, with the potential capacity to serve over 600 homes.

"Eventually we will expand further into Fairfield Glade. Constructin is expected to start within the next 30 days," said Charles D. Hercher, general manager of Upper Cumberland Gas Utility District.

"USDA Rural Development and utilities such as Upper Cumberland Gas have long played a crucial role in bringing a better quality of life to many people," said 4th District Congressman Linclon Davis. "I applaud their efforts and will continue to assist in any way I can."

The gas line extensions are funded through Rural Development's community facilities program which provides communities with the financial resources needed to construct or improve essential services. Education, health care, retirement and civic centers, along with local government buildings for police and fire protection are examples of projects typically funded through this program. Community facilities grants target rural areas with a population less than 20,000.

"This will benefit the school system greatly. Stone Memorial High School will definitely benefit from the use of natural gas. The new high school will be a big customer and we're looking forward to having that," said Director of Schools Dr. Pattie Ragsdale.

The ceremony announcing the loan was held at the new Progressive Savings Bank in the Cumberland Homesteads.

USDA's Tennessee Rural Development Office is committed to the future of rural communities by assisting with financial and technical assistance through housing, community and business-cooperative programs.

For more information, contact USDA Tennessee Rural Development toll free at (800) 342-3149 or visit online at

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