NC Main Street

Rural Development Division

The Rural Development Division

The Rural Economic Development Division, created in 2013 through GS 143B-472.126, was established to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of North Carolinian's with particular emphasis on rural communities. The Division, directed by Assistant Secretary Dr. Patricia Mitchell (pat.mitchell@nccommerce.com), has a number of grant programs and planning services to assist rural counties and rural census tracts: 

Commerce Fellows / Building Community through Capacity and Knowledge

The Commerce Fellows / Building Community through Capacity and Knowledge is offered through funding available from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding program. CDBG funds are available to assist local governments with projects that enhance the vitality of communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities. These grants primarily serve persons of low- and moderate- incomes. All CDBG-funded activities must meet one of the three national objectives of the program: 1) benefiting low-and moderate-income persons, 2) preventing or eliminating blight, or 3) meeting other community development needs having a particular urgency. Grantees must be prepared to carryout activities as a result of the Commerce Fellows program that will benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and families. 

The Commerce Fellows / Building Community through Capacity and Knowledge program is a collaboration among the NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division CDBG program, Appalachian State University (ASU), East Carolina University (ECU) and UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government (UNC SOG). The Department of Commerce will offer grants to local governments to enable local governments to engage in high-quality professional development and training with an eye toward improving opportunities for LMI individuals. Application window extended only for applications to Appalachian State and East Carolina Universities. Deadline Extended to September 18, 2015.

FY15-16 Commerce Fellows Application ECU/ASU

Rural Grants Program

The Rural Grants Program provides building renovation and economic infrastructure grants for job creation. The building renovation program is administered by Hazel Edmond (hazel.edmond@nccommerce.com); the economic infrastructure program by George Collier (george.collier@nccommerce.com); and the program is directed by Melody Adams (melody.adams@nccommerce.com). All grants are awarded by a 15-member appointed Rural Infrastructure Authority. A building demolition grant program is currently under development. 

The Community Development Block Grant for Economic Development (CDBG-ED) 

The Community Development Block Grant for Economic Development (CDBG-ED) provides grants to local governments that partner with a pro-profit business to bring public infrastructure improvements and building renovation services. The program is administered by George Sherrill (gsherrill@nccommerce.com). All grants are awarded by a 15-member appointed Rural Infrastructure Authority. 

The Industrial Development Fund / Utility Fund

The Industrial Development Fund / Utility Fund provides grants to units of local government for public infrastructure in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties to assist in job creation. The program is directed by Mark Poole (mpoole@nccommerce.com). All grants are awarded by a 15-member appointed Rural Infrastructure Authority. 

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a 13-state Federal Commission providing a federal-state partnership that serves 29 counties in Western North Carolina. The ARC provides grants for various categories of social and economic services and is directed by the North Carolina Program Manager, Olivia Collier (ocollier@nccommerce.com). 

The NC Main Street Center

The NC Main Street Center provides downtown development assistance through the NC Main Street and the Small Town Main Street programs. The Main Street Solutions Fund grant program is administered through the NC Main Street Center and is directed by Liz Parham (lparham@nccommerce.com). 

Economic Advancement and Planning

The Economic Advancement and Planning offices provide assistance across the state and are located in the West (Asheville), the Piedmont (Winston-Salem), and the East (Washington). Experienced staff are helping local governments add value to their economic and community development projects through planning, analysis and resource identification. The Economic Advancement and Planning program is lead by Darren Rhodes (drhodes@nccommerce.com). 

NC Broadband

NC Broadband provides various technical services to units of local government. The program is directed by Angie Bailey (abailey@nccommerce.com). 

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