The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 22 grant requests to local governments totaling $4,742,465. The requests include commitments to create a total of 663 jobs, 246 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $230.9 million in private investment.
“When we strengthen rural communities, we strengthen all of North Carolina,” Governor Cooper said. “These grants will provide a boost to our communities that will help in creating good paying jobs and recovering from the pandemic.”
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.
“As highlighted in our ‘First in Talent’ strategic economic development plan, we must continue to support local efforts to expand or enhance the physical infrastructure that is needed to attract residents, workers, entrepreneurs and businesses to rural areas,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “I’m proud of the collaborative efforts by our Rural Economic Development Division and the Rural Infrastructure Authority to help these resilient communities prosper.”
The RIA approved 19 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse program in three categories. Businesses interested in learning more about how Building Reuse grants can support their growth can reach out to their region’s existing industry expansions manager with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina:
Vacant Building Category
- Town of Long View (Catawba County): An $84,000 grant will support the reuse of a 5,328-square-foot building, where ClearElectric Motor Services, Inc., plans to locate. The company, which repairs pumps used in wastewater and water treatment, plans to expand operations to manufacture control panels at the facility. This project is expected to create 12 jobs, with an investment of $96,450 by the company.
- City of Kings Mountain (Cleveland County): A $50,000 grant will support the reuse of a 10,000-square-foot building, where Appalachian Gear Company, LLC, plans to expand its manufacturing operations. The company, a cut-and-sew operation specializing in alpaca fiber garments, plans to create 12 jobs and invest $486,000 in the project.
- City of High Point (Guilford County): A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 23,760-square-foot building. Mickey Truck Bodies, Inc., a manufacturer of beverage bodies and trailers, dry freight and refrigerated van bodies and emergency vehicles, plans to locate operations at the site. The company is expected to create 25 jobs and invest $719,366 in this project.
- Town of Robbins (Moore County): A $74,000 grant will support the reuse of a 153,700-square-foot building, where Minhas Furniture House, Inc., plans to locate. The company, a furniture manufacturer specializing in sofas, bedroom suites and dining sets, plans to create 18 jobs and invest $2,344,519 in the project.
- Nash County: A $400,000 grant will support the reuse of a 62,500-square-foot building in Middlesex. At this location, First Wave Innovations, Inc., will establish a small-scale research & development commercialization center that helps entrepreneurs activate plans to get their products from concept to market. The facility will also serve as a co-packing center for large volume contracts. With this project, the company expects to create 42 jobs, with an investment of $10.1 million.
- Randolph County: A $175,000 grant will support the reuse of a 17,280-square-foot building in Archdale. Mickey Truck Bodies, Inc., plans to locate operations at this site, creating an expected 20 jobs while investing $313,630.
- Rockingham County: A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 63,000-square-foot building in Stoneville, where Gregory Pallet and Lumber, LLC, plans to locate. The company, which manufactures, sells and repairs wood pallets and other wood products, plans to create 13 jobs and invest $3,365,000 in the project.
- Stanly County: A $300,000 grant will support the reuse of a 68,950-square-foot building in Badin, where Custom Alloy Corporation, a pipe fitting and forging manufacturer, plans to locate operations. This project is expected to create 40 jobs, with an investment of $8,186,097 by the company.
- Watauga County: A $145,000 grant will support the reuse of a 14,000-square-foot building in Boone. ECR Software Corporation, a transaction and retail solutions provider for retail environments, plans to locate at the site. The company expects to create 19 jobs, while investing $1,198,160 in this project.
Existing Business Building Category
- Alexander County: A $60,000 grant will support the renovation of a 57,615-square-foot building in Taylorsville that is occupied by Paul Robert, Inc., a chair manufacturer. This project is expected to create 10 jobs, with an investment of $64,396 by the company.
- City of Claremont (Catawba County): A $500,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Pöppelmann Plastics USA, LLC. The company, a family-owned plastics and injected molding manufacturer, plans to add 100,000 square feet to the existing facility. The overall project is expected to create 133 jobs and attract more than $19.2 million in private investment, while 83 jobs and an investment of $8,225,000 are tied to this grant.
- City of Claremont (Catawba County): A $375,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by WestRock Converting, LLC, a manufacturer of paper and consumer packaging solutions. The company plans to add 285,000 square feet to the existing facility. This project is expected to create 50 jobs and attract more than $47 million in private investment, of which $16,843,750 is tied to this grant.
- Gaston County: A $65,000 grant will support the renovation of a 114,815-square-foot building in Kings Mountain. The facility is occupied by Crypton, LLC, a manufacturer of high-performance textiles for home and commercial furniture applications. With this project, the company expects to create 10 jobs while investing $474,739.
- City of Greensboro (Guilford County): A $450,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Procter & Gamble Corporation. The company, a multinational consumer goods corporation that specializes in a wide range of personal health/consumer goods, personal care and hygiene products, plans to add 80,000 square feet to the existing facility. The project is expected to create 46 jobs, with an investment of $109,550,000 by the company.
- Haywood County: A $200,000 grant will support the renovation of a 150,000-square-foot building in Waynesville that is occupied by Premier Magnesia, LLC, a producer of Epsom salt. The company plans to create 21 jobs and invest $324,272 in the project.
- City of Rocky Mount (Nash County): A $300,000 grant will support the renovation of a 185,000-square-foot building that is occupied by Hubbell Power Systems, LLC. The company manufactures a wide variety of transmission, distribution, substation, OEM and telecommunications products used in the utilities market. This project is expected to create 73 jobs, with an overall investment of $8.9 million by the company, of which $8,660,000 is tied to this grant.
- Rutherford County: A $265,000 grant will support the renovation of a 140,378-square-foot building in Mooresboro that is occupied by Crypton, LLC. This project is expected to create 34 jobs, with an investment of $413,388 by the company.
- Stanly County: A $120,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Richfield that is occupied by Industrial Products, Conveyors & Drives, Inc. The company, which designs and manufactures conveyors, plans to add 10,000 square feet to the existing facility. In the overall project, the company plans to create 15 jobs while investing $1,719,500.
Rural Health Category
- Town of Louisburg (Franklin County): A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a vacant, 5,000-square-foot building. Impact Health Care, P.A., a primary and urgent medical care provider for people of all ages, plans to establish a new office at this location. The organization expects to create 10 jobs, with a private investment of $275,000 in the project.
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 Rural Demolition grant program:
- Sampson County: A $29,465 grant will support the demolition and removal of six structures on the property of the Sampson Southeast Business Center in Clinton. The County plans for the site to become a location for light industrial manufacturing, supporting future job creation and private investments.
The Rural Demolition program provides grants to local governments to support the demolition of a publicly-owned, persistently vacant building to encourage site rehabilitation and site availability for economic development purposes. Eligible applicants are units of local government located in either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, or a rural census tract in a Tier 3 county.
The RIA approved one request under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Economic Development program:
- City of Lexington (Davidson County): A $350,000 grant will support renovations to the 22,000-square-foot second floor of the Bull City Ciderworks building. In this space, Deacon Capital Asset Partners, LLC, which owns and operates several businesses in the Triad area, plans to establish an indoor hybrid hydroponic hemp growing facility. The company will dry and process hemp seeds that will be utilized in the production of lotions, tinctures, creams and CBD drops. Grant funds will assist with electrical, HVAC, sprinkler system, elevator installation, plumbing and interior upgrades. The project is expected to create 29 jobs, with an investment of $2.5 million by the company.
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 Greensboro (Guilford County): A $500,000 grant will assist the City in providing water and sewer accessibility for LT Apparel, a children’s-wear company that develops, merchandises and markets branded clothing lines for all channels of distribution. The sewer extension will service the project site and future users to the north of the property, which is in the Reedy Fork Corporate Park area. The company plans to create 81 jobs and invest $55,096,800 in this project.
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.