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The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 15 grant requests totaling $6,553,500. N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 1,729 jobs, 234 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract $214 million in private investment. 

“Communities need infrastructure such as buildings, water and sewer, and ready sites to attract business,” said Secretary Copeland. “The grants the Rural Infrastructure Authority approved today will help rural communities secure economic development projects and bring jobs to their area.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the Authority’s work. Authority 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 Deputy Secretary for Workforce and Rural Development Napoleon Wallace and 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.

“The Rural Infrastructure Authority Board and the Rural Economic Development Division work closely to identify ways to help our rural communities prepare to attract jobs and investment,” said Assistant Secretary Flowers. “The funds granted today will bring more than 1,400 new opportunities to individuals and families that need them.”

The RIA approved eight grants under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:

Existing Building Category

  • Carteret County: A $40,000 grant will support the expansion of a 10,000-square-foot building in Newport for use by Geodynamics, a woman-owned business specializing in coastal and marine mapping, monitoring, data collection and analysis. The expansion will create five jobs and attract $535,000 in private investment. 
  • Clay County: A $30,000 grant will support Advanced Digital Cable’s expansion of their 130,000-square-foot facility in Hayesville. Advanced Digital Cable manufactures copper and aluminum wire and cable products and will add 15 new jobs and invest $6 million with this project. 
  • Craven County: A $180,000 grant will support the expansion of a 72,000-square-foot building in New Bern for use by Chatsworth Products. Chatsworth Products provides structural solutions including cabinet, containment and enclosure systems for a variety of applications, industries and business needs. Chatsworth Products will create 15 jobs and the project will attract $747,000 in private investment.
  • Gaston County: A $100,000 grant will help expand a 39,950-square-foot facility in Bessemer City. Advanced Drainage Systems, a manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastic corrugated pipe, will expand operations at the facility, adding 13 jobs attracting $828,031 in private investment.
  • Rockingham County: A $440,000 grant will support the renovation of a 126,000-square-foot building in Stoneville. Southern Finishing will expand operations in the building, adding 54 jobs and bringing $1,040,940 in private investment. Southern Finishing manufactures pre-finishing moldings, accessories and panels for kitchen cabinet and furniture industries. 
  • Anson County: A $60,000 grant will support the renovation of a 135,000-square-foot building in Wadesboro. Columbus McKinnon, a designer and manufacturer of material handling systems, will expand operations in the building, adding 14 jobs and bringing $60,000 in private investment.

Vacant Building Category 

  • Polk County: A $250,000 grant will help renovate a 44,870-square-foot building in Columbus. Bulldog Factory Service will occupy the building, creating 30 jobs and investing $317,540. Bulldog Factory Service designs and installs integrated assembly lines and conveyors for large manufacturers. This will be Bulldog Factory Service’s first North Carolina facility. 
  • Town of Rutherfordton (Rutherford County): A $20,000 grant will help renovate a vacant 7,000-square-foot building in Rutherfordton. Copper Penny Grill will open its second full-service restaurant in the facility, creating four jobs and investing $62,700. 

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 three requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:

  • City of Washington (Beaufort County): A $30,000 grant will help InterMarket Technology expand its business by acquiring a generator to insure against interruption of power. The project will add 52 jobs and attract $2,575,000 in private investment.
  • Town of Andrews (Cherokee County): A $67,500 grant will assist the Town of Andrews in addressing fire suppression needs for Andrews Truss by extending a water line to increase flow. The project will add six jobs. 
  • City of Conover (Catawba County): A $36,000 grant will help Terra Mulch Products, a manufacturer of mulch and soil products, increase its capacity at its Conover facility by providing additional public road access, erosion control, drainage and extended water line. This grant is an extension of a grant given in 2017, and the expansion will add 16 new manufacturing jobs and attract $308,000 in private investment.

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 one request under the state’s Economic Infrastructure program:

  • Town of Andrews (Cherokee County): A $200,000 grant will help extend sewer infrastructure to support Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters’ expansion. Snowbird is a non-profit organization that hosts youth camps serving approximately 400 youth per week during peak season. The expansion will support 20 new jobs and $500,000 in private investment. 

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 three requests under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Economic Development program:

  • Siler City (Chatham County): A $3 million grant will help upgrade and enhance nutrient removal capabilities of a wastewater treatment plant to handle flows from a proposed processing plant. The project will include replacing the plant aeration system, process control system and flow patterns. Mountaire Farms proposes renovating a 50,000-square-foot chicken processing facility and adding 30,000 square feet of additional space for production. The project will create 1,280 jobs and bring $156 million in private investment. 
  • Richmond County: $1 million will support the construction of a 40,000-square-foot shell building with potential to double in size. The proposed shell building will be in the Rockingham West Industrial Park. 
  • Rockingham County: $1.1 million will support the reuse of a vacant 451,624-square-foot industrial building by Albaad USA, an Israeli-based manufacturer of wet wipes and other hygiene products. The building has been vacant for one year. Upgrades to the building will allow for the creation of 205 jobs and will attract $45 million in private investment.

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.

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.

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