Board will oversee future investments made to preserve the treasured Ocoee River and maintain economic growth
(NASHVILLE) — Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today appointed State Representative Dan Howell (R-Georgetown) to the Ocoee River Recreation & Economic Development Fund Board.
The board was created with the passage of House Bill 74 sponsored by Howell during the 2017 legislative session. This critical initiative saves Tennessee’s prized Ocoee River by supporting recreational water releases on the Ocoee River and also encourages economic growth in the region the Ocoee serves.
The Ocoee River Recreation and Development Fund Board consists of 15 members; each is eligible to serve four-year, renewable terms. The group will oversee future investments in the famed waterway made through the Ocoee River Recreation & Economic Development Fund.
Additionally, they will apply for grants and matching funds in order to sustain the popular whitewater river. They will also request and receive gifts, contributions, and any other donations from public or private sources, create a nonprofit organization for the purpose of fulfilling the mission of the development fund, adopt policies and guidelines for fund usage, conduct studies and make recommendations concerning the Ocoee River management zone, and submit annual reports to the governor, speakers of both the House and Senate, as well as the appropriate legislative committees.
The Ocoee is the most popular whitewater river in the nation; more than 5 million people have utilized it over the last 10 years. The river also hosted the whitewater slalom events during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta; it creates an estimated 640 jobs for Tennesseans through tourism and has a total economic impact of $43.8 million in the southeastern portion of our state.
“I am honored to be appointed to the Ocoee River Recreation & Economic Development Fund Board by Speaker Harwell,” said Representative Howell. “I know our work will continue to enhance our local economy by maintaining and creating jobs; it will also guarantee that our residents and citizens across the country are able to enjoy these historic waters for many more years.”
“Representative Howell is a tremendous asset to this important group that will ensure the Ocoee remains protected and the economic future of southeast Tennessee is sustained,” said Speaker Harwell. “I appreciate his passion for preserving a part of our state’s history, and I thank him for his willingness to serve.”
For more information about House Bill 74/Public Chapter 434, please visit the Tennessee General Assembly website at http://publications.tnsosfiles.com/acts/110/pub/pc0434.pdf
Dan Howell serves as the Chairman of the Joint Government Operations Judiciary & Government Subcommittee and as the Vice-Chairman of the House Local Government Committee. He is also a member of the House Government Operations and Joint Government Operations Committees, as well as the House Local Government Subcommittee. Howell lives in Georgetown and represents House District 22, which includes Meigs, Polk, and part of Bradley Counties. He can be reached by email at: [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-7799.