North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced earlier in December that North Carolina's Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 30 grant requests to local governments totaling $12,969,015, most of which will require either new construction or building renovations.
"[These] Rural Infrastructure Authority grants help our cities, towns and counties address critical infrastructure needs like buildings, water and sewer so they can attract new, good-paying jobs," Cooper said. "When we invest in rural communities, we are demonstrating that North Carolina is open for business with the tools and workforce to help companies compete globally."
The requests include commitments to create a total of 839 jobs, 464 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $528 million in private investment.
A team of North Carolina Department of Commerce (NCDOC) 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 the NCDOC's Rural Economic Development Division.
Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.
The RIA approved five requests under the state's Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:
- Town of Warsaw (Duplin County): A $400,000 grant will support the town in extending sewer infrastructure to upgrade the site of Carbon Cycle Energy, a renewable energy development company. This project will support the creation of 46 jobs.
- Town of Holly Ridge (Onslow County): A $605,000 grant will support that community in a second phase of development at the 160-acre Camp Davis Industrial Park. The project will include water and sewer infrastructure as well as road access, opening an additional 60 acres for future economic development at a park that is currently at capacity.
- Perquimans County: A $1.5 million grant will help the county provide industrial access at the Perquimans Marine Industrial Park. Enhancements to the infrastructure at the park are intended to take maximum advantage of the county's waterway assets (the Perquimans River and Albemarle Sound) and geographic location to attract marine-related companies, such as boat builders and marine supply/service companies.
- City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $3,745,640 grant will help the town and the county provide infrastructure to develop a planned 215-acre town/county-owned industrial park. Funds would be used to provide water, sewer and industrial access to this strategically located site at the intersection of I-95 and I-74.
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
The RIA also approved two dozen grant requests under the state's Building Reuse Program in three categories: Vacant Building, Existing Business Building and Rural Health.
A sample of the grants to applicants under the Vacant Building class includes:
- City of Fayetteville (Cumberland County): A $55,000 grant will support the reuse of a 42,965-sq.-ft. building, where Showcase Restoration Inc., plans to establish operations. The company offers residential, commercial and industrial cleanup and disaster repair services. Through this project, the company plans to create 11 jobs while investing $243,501.
- City of Rocky Mount (Nash County): A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 220,000-sq.-ft. building, where Cornerstone Building Brands Inc., a subsidiary of Ply Gem Industries, plans to locate operations. A manufacturer of exterior building products for commercial and residential use, it plans to create 38 jobs and invest approximately $25 million in the overall project, while 22 jobs and an investment of $3,107,581 are tied to this grant.
- City of Eden (Rockingham County): A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 111,693-sq.-ft. building, where Night Owl National Contractors Inc., plans to locate. The company is a commercially licensed general contractor providing interior and exterior renovation, restoration and construction services, and expects to create 18 jobs while investing $1,565,000 in the project.
Under the Existing Business Building Category, RIA funding has been awarded to:
- Alexander County: A $40,000 grant will support the renovation of a 170,000-sq.-ft. building in Taylorsville that is occupied by Piedmont Composites LLC. The company manufactures composite products that include church steeples, wall and ceiling panels, and a wide variety of OEM parts for the marine industry. Through this project, the company plans to add 10 jobs and invest $523,246.
- Granville County: A $35,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Butner that is occupied by Product Recovery Management. The company, a manufacturer of remediation and filtration equipment, plans to add 18,000 sq. ft. to the existing property. With this project, the company expects to create 10 jobs and invest $773,500.
- City of Rocky Mount (Nash County): A $190,000 grant will support the renovation of a 100,000-sq.-ft. building in Battleboro that is occupied by LS Tractor USA. The company distributes tractors and associated agricultural equipment through a network of 350 dealers in the United States and Canada and is expected to create 21 jobs and invest $3,348,793 in the project.
A single project received a grant in the Rural Health Category:
- Forsyth County: A $130,000 grant will support the reuse of a vacant, 65,000-sq.-ft. building in Winston-Salem. Addiction Recovery Care Association Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides drug and alcohol treatment services, will expand by establishing a new facility at this location. The organization expects to create 13 jobs and invest $1,129,874 in the project.
The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing Tarheel State 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.