NC: Grants to Rural Communities to Attract 295 New Jobs and Over $83 Million in Private Investment  | Trade and Industry Development

NC: Grants to Rural Communities to Attract 295 New Jobs and Over $83 Million in Private Investment 

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Dec 08, 2023
North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority approves more than $2 million in funding

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 10 grant requests to local governments totaling $2,080,000, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The requests include commitments to create a total of 316 jobs, 21 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $83.4 million in private investment.

“These grants both rejuvenate and strengthen rural North Carolina,” Governor Cooper said. “When we support local businesses and expand rural infrastructure, we boost the local, regional, and state economies and help increase our economic competitiveness from the mountains to the sea.” 

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.

“The Rural Infrastructure Authority helps support investments in the areas of our state that need it most,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “By fortifying our rural communities with more resources, we continue to put equity into action as we create a North Carolina that works for everyone.” 

The RIA approved 10 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:

Vacant Building Category

  • City of Newton (Catawba County): A $50,000 grant will support the reuse of a 12,000-square-foot building in Newton. The building will be the second location of Backstreets Bar and Grill, Inc., which has been a community staple in the Hickory area for over 25 years. The company will create 10 new jobs and invest $2,490,000 in this project.
  • Cleveland County: A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 300,000-square-foot building in Lawndale. Quantum Power, Inc., a renewable energy company that creates engineered fuels for energy recovery processes and industrial and commercial consumption, plans to establish a facility at this location. The project is expected to create 34 jobs, with an accompanying private investment of $943,850.
  • Forsyth County: A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 38,400-square-foot building in Winston-Salem. ProKidney, LLC, a company focusing on the development of cell therapy for the treatment of chronic kidney disease, plans to expand their headquarters at this location. The project is expected to create 50 jobs and bring in $20,750,000 in private investment.
  • Town of Liberty (Randolph County): A $325,000 grant will support the reuse of an 85,314-square-foot building in the Town of Liberty. Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. is a multi-business enterprise that combines international trading of various industrial products, including metals, machinery, chemicals, and electronics. The company will handle logistics and warehousing of materials for the Toyota Battery Manufacturing facility. The project is expected to create 41 jobs, with an accompanying private investment of $3,815,975.

Existing Business Building Category

  • City of Morganton (Burke County): A $200,000 grant will support the renovation of a 287,000-square-foot building in Morganton. The building is occupied by Chaddock Furniture, LLC, a third-generation custom furniture manufacturer, which has been in operation since 1958. The company expects to create 25 jobs and invest $952,287 in this project.
  • Columbus County: A $100,000 grant will support the renovation of a 135,000-square-foot building in Tabor City, which is occupied by Direct Market Access Industries, LLC. The company distributes automotive parts throughout North America and supplies parts to companies like O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. The project is expected to add 21 new jobs with an investment of $1,514,600 tied to this grant.
  • Gaston County: A $350,000 grant will support the renovation of a 290,298-square-foot building in Mount Holly. The building’s occupant, Boxman Studios, designs, manufactures, delivers, and installs temporary and permanent buildings for clients such as Sonic, Arby's, Dunkin’ Donuts, and BMW. Through this project, Boxman Studios plans to create 68 jobs while investing $324,929.
  • Gaston County: A $230,000 grant will support the 32,000-square-foot expansion of a building in Bessemer City. The building is occupied by Connor Brothers Machine, Inc., a precision machine and fabrication company that produces custom parts for manufacturing equipment. The company expects to add 31 new jobs with an investment of $46,579,538 in this project.
  • Wayne County: A $75,000 grant will support the 15,000-square-foot expansion of a building in Goldsboro. The building is occupied by Coker Feed Mill Inc., which serves small to mid-sized family farms and stables by procuring North Carolina-grown ingredients, creating valuable products, and distributing them throughout Eastern and Central North Carolina. The project is expected to create nine jobs and bring in a private investment of $614,300 for the expansion.

Rural Health Category

  • Town of Four Oaks (Johnston County): A $250,000 grant will support the construction of an 11,572-square-foot building, which will serve as a new location for Tri-County Community Health Council, Inc. d/b/a CommWell Health. The organization provides comprehensive, integrated, primary medical, dental, behavioral health, and clinical support services in five southeastern North Carolina counties. This project is expected to create 27 jobs, with an investment of $5,454,900 by the company.

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.

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.

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