Gleason Selected for Tennessee Downtowns Project


Gleason has been chosen as one of 12 towns in the state to participate in the prestigious Tennessee Downtowns Program. This initiative, designed to help communities launch comprehensive downtown revitalization efforts, promises to bring substantial benefits to Gleason's downtown area.

On April 23, 2024, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) announced the 12 communities selected for the ninth round of the Tennessee Downtowns program. Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter emphasized the program's impact on rural communities, stating, "The investments we make in rural Tennessee benefit all Tennesseans, and the Tennessee Downtowns program allows us to equip some of our most rural communities with the tools needed to better develop and revitalize their downtown districts."

The selected communities for this round are Adamsville, Baxter, Byrdstown, Camden, Decatur, Gleason, Jellico, Loudon, McEwen, Munford, Spring City, and Wartrace.

Seventy-eight communities have participated in the Tennessee Downtowns program, making them eligible for the Economic and Community Development's (ECD) Façade Improvement Grant program. These grants help fund projects that improve the visual appeal and infrastructure of downtown areas.

Other communities in Weakley County that are part of the program include Dresden, Martin, and Greenfield.

Kickoff Event in Nashville

The Steering Committee for Downtown Renovation is set to travel to Nashville for the kickoff meeting of the Tennessee Downtowns Program. This event marks the beginning of Gleason's journey in the program, which offers a robust framework for downtown revitalization based on the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach®. This method focuses on organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality to foster sustainable growth and improvement.

Gleason Mayor Charles Anderson expressed his enthusiasm for the program, stating, "This is a big deal and a very convenient event. We are hoping to make the most of it. This will allow Gleason to participate in programs and grants for downtown storefront improvements, sidewalks, street improvements. I'm very happy to see Gleason benefit from this and see this get started."

Program Overview

The Tennessee Downtowns Program is highly competitive, with limited spaces available every two years. Communities selected for the program receive 24 months of coaching and support, including training, site visits, regional workshops, webinars, technical assistance, and an innovation project grant. These resources are aimed at helping the selected towns launch effective downtown revitalization efforts.

To be eligible, communities must:

  • Define a project area in a traditional commercial district that is at least 50 years old.
  • Establish a dedicated five-member volunteer steering committee.
  • Have a designated non-profit organization or city municipality to host the steering committee.
  • Demonstrate interest from local citizens and government for downtown revitalization.
  • Adopt a resolution by the city government to participate in the program.
  • Clearly demonstrate economic need for revitalization efforts.


The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find more information on their website at Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.