Wilson County recently achieved ThreeStar Certification for 2019. ThreeStar Certification is an honor that comes with specific benefits for the county and cities therein including the following: eligibility for a ThreeStar Grant, access to Tennessee Economic Community Development programs and grants, and access to Community Development Block Grants with potential discounted match rates and additional funding.
Tennessee’s ThreeStar Certification Program started in 1980 as a model to transform Tennessee communities through collaboration among local stakeholders. The mission of Tennessee’s ThreeStar Program is to promote economic and community prosperity through collaboration to positively impact every Tennessean.
The application process for the certification began in March. Several county and city leaders, as well as stakeholders came together at a workshop to create a comprehensive inventory of county assets. These assets are programs and businesses that provide value to residents, visitors, business owners, and anyone else who interacts with Wilson County.
Workshop participants engaged in brainstorming activities to identify ways to leverage assets for the benefit of the county and cities.
“After attending the workshop, it looks like it will be a great benefit to all counties and cities involved,” said Marty Potts, city liaison and ombudsman for Mt. Juliet.
UTK Extension was part of the discussion as well. Ruth Correll, Wilson County UT Extension Director, also found value in the workshop.
“I enjoyed hearing the ideas of others from the various entities across the county,” said Correll. “Very diverse group…building relationships and exchange of ideas is very important.”
Goals were identified for action, and ultimately a vision and mission statement developed based on the assessment.
“The Three Star Certification is a big deal in many ways,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto.
“I am thankful for all of the years that the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber and JECDB took care of this accreditation,” said Hutto. “The system for accreditation changed to bring new results with many new requirements. Because of the broadening of the scope of this project, it was delivered to the Mayor’s Office to administer going forward. Ms. Susan Shaw, project coordinator in the Mayor’s Office, took on this project and did a tremendous job. Ms. Shaw enlisted the help of many leaders in our community which made the project a great success. I congratulate Ms. Shaw and the Three Star Committee for all of their hard work and job well done.”
The three key goals that have been put into action as a result of this review are as follows: build the workforce in Wilson County through partnership with business, industry, and education leaders; enhance beautification throughout the county; and improve walkability for health and connectivity purposes.
Wilson County has received several awards in recent months due to its participation in the ThreeStar Certification Program. In September, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development awarded a ThreeStar Grant to Wilson County for its Workforce Development goal to better prepare students to enter the local job market by bridging the gap between education and business. In the same month, Wilson County received an award from the Greater Nashville Regional Council for its economic development program “PaintWilCo Art Initiative,” a program that was developed as part of the beautification initiative.
Additionally, Wilson County Operations Director Robert Baines, and GC Hixson, Executive Director of Wilson County JECDB, collaborated to display the Three Star logo at each county entrance. Signs reading “Three Star Community” are displayed on signs at each major entrance to Wilson County including interstates and highways. The signs not only allude to Wilson County’s achievements but signify the pride citizens take in their community.
Wilson County has received the ThreeStar certification several times in the past and continues to work diligently to provide a full life for its citizens.