The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 17 grant requests to local governments totaling $5,710,255, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The requests include commitments to create a total of 1,382 jobs, 1,097 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects involved more than $5 billion in private investment, some of which has been previously announced.
“Investments in rural North Carolina have a positive impact on our state’s overall success,” said Governor Cooper. “These grants help communities prepare to attract investments that create good jobs, improve the quality of life of the residents, and boost local economies.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the RIA’s work. RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers. Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.
“I’m especially proud to see this spur of new businesses and job creation in North Carolina’s rural communities,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “These grants help local governments increase the availability of critical infrastructure like water and sewer, as well as revive buildings in their communities that allow them to take center stage in North Carolina’s economic development wins.”
The RIA approved 14 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:
Vacant Building Category
- Robeson County: A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 90,000-square-foot building in Lumberton. BIOPHIL Natural Fibers, LLC, is a grower and processor of hemp stalk, which produces hurd and fiber as a sustainable alternative to woven and nonwoven textile materials. Overall, the company is expected to create 41 new jobs and $10.9 million in private investment, while 38 jobs and an investment of $4,333,150 are tied to this grant.
- City of Salisbury (Rowan County): A $150,000 grant will support the reuse of a 90,000-square-foot building. The building will be occupied by Fab-Con Machinery Development Corporation, a manufacturer of textile machinery for the knit fabric and apparel industry. The overall project will create 27 jobs with an investment of $5.3 million, while 21 jobs and $5,160,703 are tied to this grant.
- Stokes County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 4,200-square-foot building located in Walnut Cove. Mitchell’s Meat Processing, which provides custom processing services to farmers, will create nine jobs with an investment of $1,136,470.
- Wayne County: A $300,000 grant will support the reuse of a 72,000-square-foot building in Goldsboro for SunTree Snack Foods. The company manufactures and distributes on-trend snack nuts, trail mix and other better-for-you products for national and regional retailers. The company will create 94 new jobs and invest $10.1 million in the overall project, with 76 jobs and an investment of $9,800,000 being tied to this grant.
- Yancey County: A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 20,000-square-foot building in Burnsville for a boutique hotel. NuWray Inn, LLC will be a full-service hotel, restaurant, and bar, offering 23 hotel rooms. The company plans to create 12 jobs with a $2,475,786 investment in this project.
Existing Business Building Category
- Alexander County: An $80,000 grant will support the renovation of a 40,000-square-foot building in Taylorsville, for family-owned upholstery manufacturer Hancock & Moore, Inc. This project is expected to create 20 new jobs and attract a private investment of $219,197.
- City of Morganton (Burke County): A $200,000 grant will support the addition of 10,283 square feet to the current building occupied by Molded Fiber Glass Company North Carolina. The company produces fiberglass reinforced plastic parts for companies such as General Motors, Freightliner, and American Standard. Through this project, the company plans to create 30 jobs, while investing $1,610,000.
- Town of Edenton (Chowan County): A $150,000 grant will support the expansion of a building where Edenton Boatworks, LLC is currently operating. The company, which manufactures offshore sport fishing boats, will add 19,800 square feet to the existing facility, creating 21 new jobs with an investment of $2,126,000.
- Cleveland County: A $175,000 grant will help expand a building in Shelby that is currently occupied by Safety Test & Equipment Company, Inc. This project will add 11,200 square feet to the facility where the company produces safety equipment used by line workers, electricians, and related equipment to stock repair trucks. The company will create 23 new jobs while investing $516,774.
- City of Thomasville (Davidson County): A $175,000 grant will assist Imaflex, USA in expanding its current manufacturing facility. The company, which manufactures flexible packaging solutions for the industrial, agricultural, and consumer markets, plans to add 38,000 square feet to building. Imaflex will create a total of 37 new jobs and invest up to $15 million in the overall project, while 24 jobs and an investment of $822,649 are tied to this grant.
- Davidson County: A $300,000 grant will support the expansion of building in Lexington that is currently occupied by KURZ Transfer Projects, L.P., a developer and manufacturer of decorative and functional coatings for automotive components, cell phones, bank cards, and more. The company will add 21,000 square feet to the existing building, adding 41 new jobs while investing $24,826,500.
- Granville County: A $450,000 grant will support the renovation of a 225,000-square-foot building in Oxford. Bridgestone Bandag, LLC, a manufacturer of tread rubber used for premium retreaded tires, will create 61 jobs with an investment of $1,860,107.
- City of Asheboro (Randolph County): A $100,000 grant will help renovate a building currently occupied by PEMMCO Manufacturing. The precision machining company will add 15,000 square feet to the existing facility, creating 18 new jobs while investing $1,623,990.
Rural Health Category
- Guilford County: A $300,000 grant will support the reuse of a vacant, 4,912-square-foot building in Jamestown. Bethany Medical, an independent healthcare group that provides a multi-specialty approach for the prevention and intervention of potentially life-threatening health problems, will establish operations at this site. This project will create 30 new jobs, with an investment of $1,413,038 by the company.
The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and in rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Economic Infrastructure Program:
- Town of Weldon (Halifax County): A $100,000 grant will support water, sewer, and road infrastructure improvements to enable the construction of a 97-room Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel, operated by Carolina State Hospitality, LLC. The company plans to create 20 jobs with an investment of $425,000.
The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments to assist with infrastructure projects that will lead to job creation. The program gives priority to jurisdictions in the 80 most economically distressed counties (Tiers 1 and 2) and can help build water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, natural gas lines, public broadband infrastructure, roadways, rail spurs, and other infrastructure allowed under program guidelines.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Economic Development program:
- Town of Siler City (Chatham County): A $2.5 million grant will help construct a 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank to supply water and provide fire flow for Wolfspeed, Inc., a global leader in the production of Silicon Carbide. The company plans to build a world-class manufacturing facility at the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site. Wolfspeed expects to create 1,800 jobs with an investment of $5 billion in the overall project, while 938 jobs are tied to this grant.
The Community Development Block Grant program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program administered in part by N.C. Commerce. CDBG’s economic development funds provide grants to local governments for creating and retaining jobs. Project funding is based on the number of jobs to be created and the level of economic distress of applicant communities.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:
- City of Jacksonville (Onslow County): A $180,255 grant will support a roadway extension for a 40-acre industrial site at the Jacksonville Business Park.
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, which are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Funds may be used for publicly-owned infrastructure projects that are reasonably expected to result in new job creation. The IDF – Utility Account is funded through a process tied to the state’s signature Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. When JDIG-awarded companies choose to locate or expand in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.
In addition to reviewing and approving funding requests, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority formulates policies and priorities for grant and loan programs administered by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. Its 17 voting members are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem. The North Carolina Secretary of Commerce serves as a member of the Authority, ex officio.
Visit the N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division webpage for more information.
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