NASHVILLE — State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, was among legislators who have worked in recent weeks to secure $8.5 million in grant funding for the Tri-Cities Airport Aerospace Park.

The funding was approved in the House after State Reps. Timothy Hill, R–Blountville, Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, Hawk, Micah Van Huss, R-Gray, Bud Hulsey, R–Kingsport, and John Crawford, R–Kingsport, submitted an amendment to the state budget to include the dollars, negotiating the terms with Governor Bill Haslam and shepherding the amendment to ensure its inclusion in the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, according to a recent news release.

The state Senate approved the budget, with the amendment as a new competitive grant program using state tax dollars to fund regional airport projects across the state, including the Tri-Cities Aerospace Park, 28-2 on Monday, according to information from the state legislature.

The budget now awaits Hallam’s signature.

The Tri-Cities Airport Aerospace Park is a 160-acre development site on the airport grounds capable of housing aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies. The park will allow employers from these industries to utilize airport facilities, workforce development programs, and the aviation program at nearby Northeast State Community College to fill as many as 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs, the release says.

“Aeronautics expansion is extremely important for our Northeast Tennessee region,” Hawk said in the release. “We are fortunate to have many people in our communities who are trained in this industry that will benefit from the jobs created through this funding source.”