CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (WJHL) — A glass plant in Church Hill will be able to expand and add 75 jobs over five years thanks in part to a $1.5 million federal infrastructure grant announced Tuesday.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the First Utility District of Hawkins County will allow for the utility to replace 6,000 feet of 8-inch waterline with a 12-inch line. That upgrade is essential for Cardinal Glass to add capacity in a $35 million upgrade of its own, First Tennessee Development District’s (FTDD) Bill Forrester told News Channel 11.

“They have been making improvements down there,” Forrester said of Cardinal, which currently employs nearly 550 people at a plant Cardinal purchased in 2021 from AGC.

“They’re making glass and they’re doing a really good job, but they had a water situation so we are upgrading lines,” Forrester said.

A release from the EDA said the increased capacity will allow for the Cardinal expansion “while enabling other businesses to locate in a region transitioning from a traditional coal economy.” 

Forrester said the grant application was submitted in the fall and while EDA grants are difficult to obtain, FTDD now has six ongoing and a seventh is in the pipeline for Greeneville.

“It’s an arduous process but in the end, it’s very good. A million and a half dollars that we wouldn’t have received is a big deal for our region.”

The utility is matching the money with $400,000. Forrester said after design and planning work is complete, actual construction of the line along Burlington Road could begin by early 2024.