Dandridge honored with Small Town Progress award

Officials with the town of Dandridge have been hard at work balancing the challenges of preserving the town’s historic past with providing infrastructure improvements necessary for the town to grow, all while bettering Dandridge’s financial health.

In recognition of the efforts made by municipal officials to increase the city’s financial security while still providing improved and expanded infrastructure needed to position the town for the future, the Tennessee Municipal League is pleased to present Dandridge with an award for Excellence in Small Town Progress.

Working together, Dandridge Mayor George Gantte, Town Administrator Matt Rudder, and leadership from the Dandridge Board of Mayor and Aldermen spearheaded numerous projects aimed at shoring up the city’s infrastructure. The city has spent more than $1 million upgrading water lines and building a water tank near Exit 417, which will spur further economic development in the area.

The town has also completed three major downtown infrastructure projects: replacing old gas pipelines downtown, replacing wooden power poles with black metal power poles, and repaving the downtown area. Additionally, the town also purchased 0.3 acres of land to create a new parking area for its downtown.

Park improvements have been another project undertaken by town officials. Dandridge recently purchased an additional 0.84 acres to expand the recreational opportunities at the Field of Dreams. A recent grant from the Tennessee Department of Health also financed the purchase of workout and cardio equipment for the Field of Dreams Activity Center. The town also financed the construction of a new bathroom facility near the Dandridge Dock.

Several new pieces of equipment have also been purchased to aid public works and emergency services personnel with the town. Dandridge utilized a Jefferson Health Care Foundation Fund Grant to purchase two sets of extrication equipment, a fire engine, rapid response vehicle, and command vehicle for the Dandridge Volunteer Fire Department. Three administrative vehicles and four patrol vehicles were also purchased for the Dandridge Police Department. A backhoe, knuckle boom, ton truck with snowplow and dump bed, salt spreader, and zero turn mower were purchased for the Dandridge Public Works Department while two vehicles were also purchased for the Dandridge Water Management Facility.
All of this has been done while working to improve the town’s financial situation. Dandridge’s property tax rates have decreased significantly over the past three years. Meanwhile, in two years the town has increased its net position by more than $1.1 million and its fund balance by more than $776,000. The town has also decreased its debt by more than $1.2 million in the past three years.