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Sunday, July 14, 2024

N.C. rural areas divide 20 economic grants valued at $8.6M

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority has approved 20 grant requests to local governments totaling more than $8.6 million. The requests include commitments to create a total of 802 jobs, 408 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $474 million in public and private investment, according to the 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 activities including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition and site improvements.

The RIA approved 11 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:

Vacant Building Category

  • City of Kings Mountain (Cleveland County): A $500,000 grant to support the reuse of a 137,000-square-foot building to be occupied by FilterBalls, a manufacturer of textile media utilized in water filtration systems for swimming pools, spas, and residential and commercial water and waste-water filtration applications. The project is set to create 68 jobs, with an investment of $9 million.
  • City of Lexington (Davidson County): A $500,000 grant to support the reuse of a 329,000-square-foot building. US Foods, a food service distributor that partners with approximately 250,000 restaurants and food service operators, plans to establish operations. The project is expected to create 105 jobs, with an investment of $93 million tied.
  • Gaston County: A $150,000 grant to support the reuse of a 54,600-square-foot building in Belmont by Lynddahl Telecom America, a duct solutions company for fiber optic installations. The overall project is expected to create 54 jobs, while 21 jobs and an accompanying private investment of $7,333,650.
  • City of Greenville (Pitt County): An $80,000 grant to support the reuse of a 62,793-square-foot building, where UNX-Christeyns plans to locate. The company specializes in commercial cleaning chemicals for the laundry, housekeeping and dry and wet cleaning markets, and it also manufactures the dispensing equipment supporting those products. Through the overall project, the company plans to create 21 jobs with an investment of $703,057. The company has also been awarded a $40,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund for the project.
  • Wayne County: A $300,000 grant to support the reuse of a 70,000-square-foot building in Goldsboro. Alta Foods, a manufacturer and distributor of tortilla chips and related products, plans to locate operations at this facility. The company is expected to create 41 jobs and invest almost $18.7 million in this project.

Existing Business Building Category

  • City of Graham (Alamance County): A $100,000 grant will support the renovation of a 114,333-square-foot building that is occupied by Cintas Corp., which provides specialized services and products, including uniform rental services, entrance mats, restrooms supplies, and fire protection products and services. The company expects to create 35 jobs and invest $913,000 in this project.
  • City of Lexington (Davidson County): A $30,000 grant to support the renovation of a 131,250-square-foot building that is occupied by Navis TubeTex, which designs, engineers, and manufactures finishing machinery for the global knit, woven, nonwoven, technical and geotextile industries. Now in a partnership with Fibroline, the company will expand to design new solutions for customers. With this expansion, the company expects to create 12 jobs and invest $35,400.
  • Town of Benson (Johnston County): A $150,000 grant to support the renovation of a 550,000-square-foot building occupied by Chicopee, which manufactures engineering fabrics that service the food and consumer wipes, filtration, home furnishing and bedding, and medical markets. The company expects to create 39 jobs and invest $521,187.
  • Pasquotank County: A $200,000 grant to support the renovation of a 300,000-square-foot building that it occupies. The company designs, manufactures, and deploys air defense technology systems. With this project, the company plans to create 25 jobs with an investment of $508,000.
  • Pitt County: A $250,000 grant will support the renovation of a 666,000-square-foot building occupied by Attindas, which designs and manufactures high-quality absorbent hygiene products for the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company plans to create 25 jobs, with an $11 million investment. The company has also been awarded a $75,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund for the project.
  • Stanly County: A $250,000 grant to support the expansion of a building located in Albemarle that is occupied by Quality Enclosures, a family-owned company that manufactures shower enclosures and tempered glass. With this project, the company plans to add 5,000 square feet to the existing facility, while creating 32 jobs and investing $1.2 million. The company has also been awarded today a $50,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund for 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, as well as rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.

The RIA approved two grant requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:

  • City of Greenville (Pitt County): A $2 million grant to assist in adding a substation to support Boviet Solar Technology’s expansion in Pitt County. In the overall project, the solar company is expected to create 908 jobs and invest more than $294 million.
  • Wayne County: A $500,000 grant to assist with construction of a rail spur to support Team Foods USA’s new manufacturing facility in the county. Team Foods USA is a Latin American company specializing in vegetable oil manufacturing. With this project, the company is expected to create 16 jobs, with an accompanying private investment of $36.4 million.

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.

The RIA approved seven grant requests under the state’s new Rural Downtown Economic Development program in two categories:

Public Infrastructure Category

  • City of Hickory (Catawba County): An $850,000 grant to assist the city of Hickory with two streetscapes in the downtown area. The improvements will include wider sidewalks, bulb outs, and improved lighting on both sides of the street. The grant will also aid in the placement of utilities underground. The project is expected to leverage an investment of $513,260.
  • Town of Franklinton (Franklin County): A $500,000 grant to support the “Downtown Revitalization Project – Water & Front Street Corridor,” which includes streetscape improvements, pedestrian safety enhancements, new sidewalks, upgraded lighting and improved accessibility to expand walkability and connectivity between surrounding residential areas and downtown. The town also plans to create a small business support center and meeting space. The project is set to leverage $478,660 in investments.
  • Town of Weldon (Halifax County): A $250,000 grant to assist the town of Weldon in its project that concentrates on the Riverfront Walking Trail, including improvements to a quarter-mile walking trail along the Roanoke River. The project also includes upfit to three cargo containers to accommodate retail and commercial use along the riverfront near the Weldon Mills Distillery Visitor/Tasting Center. Concrete pads and electrical poles will support entrepreneurial spaces. The project is expected to leverage $34,305 in investments.
  • Town of Mount Gilead (Montgomery County): A $95,000 grant to support the town of Mount Gilead’s Albert Johnson Memorial Park project, which will include updates to stormwater, electrical, lighting, ADA compliance and sidewalks in the park. The project is anticipated to leverage $5,000 in investments.
  • Town of Norwood (Stanly County): A $787,500 grant will support the town of Norwood’s project to replace existing sidewalk with 13,750 square feet of concrete sidewalk and 2,500 square feet of sidewalk pavers, installation of tree grates and streetlights. The project will leverage $39,375 in investments.

Public Buildings Category

  • Town of Spring Hope (Nash County): A $537,500 grant to assist the town of Spring Hope’s Depot Platform Project, which will extend the outdoor space with a 32′ x 90′ covered platform, fund the exterior painting of the depot, and the restoration of the original chimneys. The covered platform will function as a sheltered outdoor venue that can host private events, public events and festivals, while complementing the Spring Hope Depot Event Center. The project is expected to leverage $33,500 in investments.
  • Yancey County: A $650,000 grant will support a Yancey County Government project that includes the rehabilitation of a 4,686-square-foot building in downtown Burnsville on the Town Square. The renovation of 18 Town Square includes the rehabilitation of existing floors, ceilings, walls, a restroom and ADA entrance ramp, as well as the replication of plaster wall molding and ceiling trim and additions of lighting, electrical service and outlets. Space on the second floor will be made ready to potentially host events and showcase local artists’ work. The project is expected to leverage $322,767 in investments.

The Rural Downtown Economic Development Grants program provides grants to local governments to support downtown revitalization and economic development initiatives that are intended to help local governments grow and leverage downtown districts as assets for economic growth, economic development, and prosperity by providing public improvements to help retain businesses and leverage main street assets for community-wide use.

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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