The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved ten grant requests to local governments totaling $2,119,529. The requests include commitments to create a total of 349 jobs, 289 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $30.8 million in private investment.
“In order for North Carolina’s economy to continue growing, we must prioritize and support our rural communities,” Governor Cooper said. “We know these communities need new jobs and more investments, and that’s exactly what our grants accomplish.”
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.
“These grants do not only drive our rural communities’ post-pandemic economic recovery,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said, “but they also allow businesses, health care facilities, and business parks to expand and reach their full potential.”
The RIA approved six grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:
Vacant Building Category
- City of Lenoir (Caldwell County): A $400,000 grant will support the reuse of an 800,000-square-foot building in Lenoir. The building will serve as a new location for Grand Manor Furniture, a vertically integrated furniture manufacturer specializing in the leisure and hospitality seating market. This project is expected to create 50 jobs, with an investment of $671,225 by the company.
- Wayne County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 152,000-square-foot building in Goldsboro. The building will be occupied by Mount Olive Pickle Company, a leading brand of pickles, peppers, & relishes in the U.S. Overall, the company will create 167 jobs and invest more than $35 million in the project, with 24 jobs and an investment of $21,362,520 tied to this grant.
Existing Business Building Category
- Burke County: A $200,000 grant will support the renovation of a 347,000-square-foot building in Morganton. The building is currently occupied by Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, a supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, aftermarket and electric powertrain solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets. The company will create 25 jobs and invest more than $4 million in the overall project, with an investment of $3,910,000 tied to this grant.
- Davidson County: A $150,000 grant will support the 57,000-square-foot expansion of a building occupied by Nordfab America in Thomasville. The company manufactures a Quick-Fit® clamp-together duct work and will be expanding their facility to support their new line of Quick-Fit® Visual for warehouse and design space. The project is expected to create 25 jobs, with an investment of $2,649,211 tied to this grant.
- City of Thomasville (Davidson County): A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 157,470-square-foot building. The building is occupied by BrassCraft Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributor of a variety of plumbing products for new construction, repair, and remodel in the U.S. and international markets. The company will create nearly 100 jobs and invest more than $13 million in the overall project, with 72 jobs and an investment of $1,925,000 tied to this grant.
Rural Health Category
- Surry County: A $100,000 grant will support the 3,200-square-foot expansion of Surry Rural Health Center’s existing facility in Mount Airy. Surry Rural Health Center is a clinic that provides preventive care and onsite laboratory testing. The expansion is necessary to support additional space for urgent care facilities. The project is expected to create 10 jobs, with a private investment of $286,500 by the organization.
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 four requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:
- City of Shelby (Cleveland County): A $709,530 grant will assist the City in constructing sewer infrastructure at a 62-acre site. The sewer construction is necessary to support the use of a recently constructed, 100,000-square-foot shell building. The Authority approved $562,500 for this project in April of 2021.
- Franklin County: A $269,529 grant will assist the county, in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), in providing infrastructure to Triangle North Franklin Business Park. The county will use the funds to provide water, sewer and industrial access in a section of the 85-acre park that suffers from a lack of infrastructure.
- Pitt County: A $300,000 grant will assist the county, in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), in providing infrastructure to Farmville Corporate Park. The county will use the Utility Account funds to provide sewer infrastructure for the 20-acre site, with an additional 150 acres ready for development, while the EDA funds will be used for water and industrial access.
- Randolph County: A $1,000,000 grant will assist the county in providing water and sewer access at the 160-acre industrial park currently being developed in Randleman. The park was selected for the Duke Energy Site Readiness Study in 2021.
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.
For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit www.nccommerce.com/rd.