The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved five grant requests to local governments totaling $1,384,730, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The requests include commitments to create a total of 133 jobs. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $68.3 million in private investment.
“North Carolina’s rural communities are great places in which to live and raise a family, and by continuing to make these smart investments, we can create more good jobs there,” Governor Cooper said. “Improvements to buildings and water service will stimulate economic growth and investments that benefit our entire state.”
The RIA is supported by the rural economic development team at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. 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 support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.
“North Carolina has been recognized as the best state in the nation for business in part because of our strong, collaborative efforts to support economic development in a way that is inclusive of rural areas,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “We are proud to partner with counties and towns to help them attract and support businesses through our Rural Infrastructure Authority grants.”
The RIA approved three grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:
Vacant Building Category
- Yadkin County: A $75,000 grant will support the reuse of a 1,684-square-foot building in Yadkinville. Hospice of Surry County, Inc. (d/b/a Mountain Valley), a hospice healthcare provider serving 18 counties in North Carolina and Virginia, plans to establish a location at this facility. The project is expected to create 8 jobs, with an accompanying private investment of $133,337.
Existing Business Building Category
- Granville County: A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 355,000-square-foot building in Creedmoor. The building is occupied by Altec Industries, Inc., a provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets. The company expects to create 70 jobs and invest $30,927,478 in this project.
- Vance County: A $75,000 grant will support the renovation of a 4,500-square-foot building in Henderson. The building’s occupant, Versatrim, LLC, is a Henderson-based provider of moldings for the flooring industry. Through this project, the company plans to create 15 jobs while investing $106,498.
The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant building, 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, as well as rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.
The RIA approved two requests under the Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:
- Town of Spring Hope (Nash County): A $434,730 grant will assist the Town with construction of a 3,675-linear-foot extension of a water line in order to provide public water to the Bass Farm Sausage meat-packing facility. This extension is also expected to facilitate growth of additional commercial development in the area. The project supports an expansion at Bass Farm Sausage, in which the company is expected to create 40 jobs while investing $2.2 million.
- Pitt County: A $300,000 grant will assist the County with construction of a 13,500-linear-foot transmission water line from an existing elevated storage tank to the Ayden Rail Site, which will support current and future growth in the surrounding Ayden industrial district. The Ayden Rail Site is the largest certified industrial site (through the ElectriCities Smart Sites program) in Pitt County. These water infrastructure improvements are expected to benefit multiple ongoing economic development projects, attracting new jobs and private investment totaling at least $35 million.
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, classified as 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 awarded 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.