Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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$6.6 Million To Support Rural Communities Approved

 

North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority awards grants to support new jobs and infrastructure upgrades

Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 27 grant requests totaling $6,590,235, North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today.  The requests include commitments to create a total of 278 new jobs.  352 new jobs associated with these grants have been previously announced. 

“Companies bring jobs to local communities, but to attract these jobs in the first place communities must have modern infrastructure in place,” said Secretary Copeland. “These grants will help counties and towns meet the needs of business by upgrading water and sewer systems, buildings, and industrial access points all across the state.”

The Authority’s work is supported by a team of rural economic specialists at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Authority members review and approve funding requests from local communities, using a variety of specialized grant and loan programs.  These programs are offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, overseen by Secretary Copeland.  Grants support infrastructure development, building demolition, renovation and expansion, and site improvements.

In today’s round of grants, the RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:

  • Polk County: A $185,000 grant to upgrade water service in support of an 8-job expansion by Looking Glass Creamery, an artisan cheese-making company. The project will enhance the company’s control of its supply chain – from cows to consumers – and allow both the company and potentially other water consumers to benefit from the additional capacity.
  • City of Trinity (Randolph County): A $367,500 grant to provide a pump station and sewer access for a campus of four, 15,000 square foot buildings.  Younts Machine Company will remain in Randolph County due to this new campus, creating 15 new jobs.  The public investment leverages a private-sector investment of $4 million at the new site.

The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 counties of the state classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2, in order to better prepare those communities to attract new business.  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 have chosen to locate or expand in either a Tier 2 or 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.

The RIA approved four requests under the state’s Economic Infrastructure program:

  • Halifax County: A $60,000 grant to support the extension of 2,078 linear feet of sewer line, an infrastructure improvement that will allow Mid-Atlantic Eye Care Center to expand and create 6 jobs near Roanoke Rapids.  The grant helps enable a private-sector investment of $3.2 million.
  • Henderson County: A $72,575 grant to support additional expenses identified to re-route a sewer extension to better accommodate the needs of Norafin Americas, Inc.  An original grant from the RIA of $135,000 was awarded at the Authority’s December 2016 meeting.  These additional funds will extend both the length and depth of the proposed line from original estimates.  46 new jobs are associated with this project, with a total private sector investment of $18.1 million.
  • Town of Rutherfordton (Rutherford County): A $360,000 grant to support the extension of 6,000 linear feet of gravity sewer line to a hotel, resort and spa being developed by Tryon Equestrian Partners.  The project is an aspect of preparations underway to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games in North Carolina.  $60 million in private-sector investment will leverage the public infrastructure investment and the project will create 36 jobs.
  • Town of Warrenton (Warren County): A $41,250 grant to help demolish a chronically vacant building constructed in 1938 that once housed Tar Heel Tire.  The resulting site will offer a prime property for redevelopment in the downtown commercial district.  Warrenton is a North Carolina Main Street Community.

The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments to fund infrastructure projects that will lead to job creation.  With priority given to jurisdictions in the 80 most economically distressed counties, the program helps build water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, natural gas lines, public broadband infrastructure, roadways, rail spurs, and other infrastructure allowed under program guidelines.

The RIA approved six grants under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Economic Development program:

  • Town of Louisburg (Franklin County): A $750,000 building-reuse grant to help bring back into productive service a vacant, 74,000 square foot medical building originally constructed in 1951.  Duke LifePoint and Maria Parham Hospital plan to open an 83 bed emergency medicine and behavioral health facility, resulting in the creation of 63 new jobs. The grant will support a total private investment of $21.25 million.
  • Town of Liberty (Randolph County): A $400,000 grant to construct 4,300 linear feet of water pipe, which will support production at Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the country’s largest poultry producers.  The company is committing to create 15 new jobs and will invest $13 million.
  • Scotland County: A $1,350,000 grant to support the construction of 18,932 linear feet of rail siding to benefit Mountaire Farms.  The company is building a feed mill that will be the largest in the world.  The total costs for the rail improvements is over $9.2 million, with the company, CSX Corporation and Scotland County contributing the balance.  The company will create 65 new jobs and overall invest $44 million to build the new complex.  Previously, the company received a One North Carolina Fund grant in support of this project.
  • Town of West Jefferson (Ashe County): A $349,410 grant to support a Downtown Redevelopment Fund project to renovate a building previously used by Bare-Little & Co.  The two-story historic building, constructed in 1925, has been vacant for 20 years.  The renovation will enable Mountain Outfitters, LLC to expand.
  • City of Washington (Beaufort County): A $500,000 grant to support a Downtown Redevelopment Fund project to renovate a building previously used by Fowle & Sons General Merchandise.  The three-story historic building has been vacant for more than 40 years.  The renovation will enable New Vision Partners, LLC to operate Castle Island Brewery, a restaurant and brewery on the first floor.
  • Town of Elkin (Surry County): A $300,000 grant to support a Downtown Redevelopment Fund project to renovate a former general store and Masonic Temple that was later used as a pool hall.  The two-story historic building, built in 1915, has been vacant for 10 years.  The renovation when completed will house Salem Appraisal Services, LLC, an established real estate appraiser as well as Southern on Main, a full-service restaurant.

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 15 grants under the state’s Building Reuse program, in several categories:

Existing Business Building Category

  • City of Mebane (Alamance County): A $360,000 grant to support renovation of a 330,000 square foot building to benefit GKN Driveline, a manufacturer of products for the automotive industry.  36 new jobs are tied to the infrastructure upgrade for this project and the public dollars will leverage $1,367,000 in private investment.
  • Alleghany County: A $225,000 grant to support renovation of a 65,000 square foot building in Sparta to benefit NAPCO, a manufacturer of paperboard products.  35 new jobs are tied to the project and the public dollars will be matched by $225,000 in private investment.
  • Town of Elizabethtown (Bladen County): A $200,000 grant to support renovation of a 164,976 square foot building to benefit Specialty Product Technologies, bringing 20 new jobs to the county.  The company plans to set up a new assembly line to manufacture parts for water meter products.  The public investment is attracting $578,000 in private-sector investment.
  • Town of Tarboro (Edgecombe County): A $113,500 grant to support renovation of a 144,432 square foot building to enable Keihin Carolina System Technology to expand its manufacturing facility making engine control units and other components for Honda and Acura vehicles.  The company will add 42 new jobs and bring a total of $13,808,000 of investment to the project.  The company also recently received a One North Carolina Fund grant, where these new jobs were previously reported.
  • Lincoln County: A $250,000 grant to support renovation of a 45,000 square foot building in Lincolnton that will allow Kaco USA to expand its facility manufacturing oil seals and bonded piston seals for the automotive industry.  100 new jobs and $2.9 million in investment capital will result from the project.  The company also recently received a One North Carolina Fund grant, where these new jobs were previously reported.

Vacant Building Category

  • City of Washington (Beaufort County): A $25,000 grant to support reuse of a 65,000 square foot building, constructed in 1905, that has been vacant for two years.  The renovated structure will house Ribeye’s of Washington, a franchised steakhouse restaurant creating 5 new jobs.  Washington is a North Carolina Main Street Community and this project is located in the downtown district.  $279,000 in private-sector investment is being applied to this project.
  • City of Lenoir (Caldwell County): A $50,000 grant to support reuse of a 6,303 square foot building in Lenoir that has been vacant for a year.  White Wholesale Tire Company, a 45-year-old tire wholesaler and retailer based in Hickory will create the company’s fourth retail tire center at the facility, creating 10 new jobs.  The company will contribute $60,000 in private investment to the project.
  • City of Newton (Catawba County): A $70,000 grant to support the renovation of a 2,400 square foot building constructed in 1987 and vacant for two years.  Newton Urgent Care will offer emergency care, seven days a week, to residents of Newton and southeastern Catawba County.  The project includes $233,500 in private-sector investment and will create 7 jobs.
  • City of Thomasville (Davidson County): A $250,000 grant to support the renovation of a 222,608 square foot building constructed in 1958 and vacant for six months.  The manufacturer Ennis-Flint plans to occupy the renovated space and create 20 new jobs.  The project includes $262,000 in private-sector investment.
  • Town of Louisburg (Franklin County): A $25,000 grant to support the renovation of a 16,000 square foot building in Louisburg.  Farmers Home Furniture, a retail furniture store with 10 locations across the state will begin operations in the facility, creating 5 new jobs.  The public investment will be leveraged by $231,000 in private-sector investment.
  • Montgomery County: A $101,000 grant to support the renovation of a 65,000 square foot building in Star.  Carolina Structural Systems, a company which designs, builds, and delivers wood floor and roof trusses will locate in the building, creating 63 jobs.  These jobs were previously announced in conjunction with the company’s award of a One North Carolina Fund grant.  The public investment will be leveraged by an additional $691,250 in private-sector investment from the company.
  • City of Greenville (Pitt County): A $45,000 grant to support the renovation of a 7,500 square foot building so that Pitt Street Brewing can begin operations at the location producing a variety of craft beers in downtown Greenville.  A total of $305,000 in private investment will be applied to the project, creating 9 jobs.
  • Randolph County: A $75,000 grant to support the renovation of a 22,300 square foot building in Staley for use by Pilgrim’s Pride.  The building, constructed in 1965, has been vacant for 4 years and this project will create 15 new jobs, as well as help retain 1,500 jobs.  The total amount of private-sector investment from the company will be $12.8 million.
  • Town of Maxton (Robeson County): A $40,000 grant to support the renovation of a 2,400 square foot building vacant for one year.  Driven Contractors, a licensed general contractor operating in the Carolinas will use the space and create 4 new jobs.  The public investment is drawing $161,377 from the private-sector, an investment focused in the downtown district of Maxton.
  • Town of Pembroke (Robeson County): A $25,000 grant to support the renovation of an 1,800 square foot building constructed in 1945 and vacant for eight months.  Speech pathology provider Speech Fundamentals will create 5 new jobs at the location.  The project, located in the downtown district, will draw $25,000 in private-sector investment.

The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments in order 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.

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 15 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 non-voting member of the Authority.

For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit http://www.nccommerce.com/rd.###

David Rhoades

Deputy Communications Director

North Carolina Department of Commerce

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