Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 16 grant requests totaling $3,948,755, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 683 jobs, 461 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $142.8 million in private investment. 

“Our rural communities have so much to offer businesses, but sometimes need additional investment in infrastructure to compete,” said Secretary Copeland. “The Rural Infrastructure Authority helps communities prepare buildings and industrial sites to better compete for business.”

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 Economic Development Division at Commerce works in partnership with our rural communities to find solutions that help attract business,” said Assistant Secretary Flowers. “I’m proud of the projects we approved today and look forward to continue helping these communities grow.”

Included in the grants awarded today, the RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:

  • Edgecombe County: A $540,000 grant to help improve water and sewer infrastructure at the site of the new Corning manufacturing plant, announced in December. The project has been designed to open an additional 50-100 acres for future development.  
  • Town of Kernersville (Forsyth County): A $330,975 grant will help improve infrastructure at National Pipe and Plastic’s existing facility in Kernersville. National Pipe and Plastics is a significant employer in the community and needs to upgrade facilities to meet demand. 

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 13 grants under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:

Existing Building Category

  • Greene County: A $200,000 grant will support the expansion of 35,500 square-foot building to support expansion by NWL, a power supply and transformer manufacturer. NWL has operated in Snow Hill for 25 years and has three other facilities in the U.S. and Korea. NWL will add 26,000 square feet to the existing facility. 
  • Iredell County: A $250,000 grant will support the renovation of a 17,700 square-foot building in Statesville. Longitude 80 Dairies manufactures ice cream and yogurt products and will add a new milk processing line with this expansion. 
  • Randolph County: A $125,000 grant will support the expansion of a 25,000 square-foot building in Sophia. The building has been occupied by Engineered Steel Products since 1998, and the company will expand with the help of this grant. Engineered Steel Products will add 8,000 square feet to the facility with this project. 
  • Richmond County: A $400,000 grant will support the expansion of a 193,300 square-foot building in Rockingham. Direct Pack, a packaging manufacturer occupying the existing facility will add 60,000 square feet with this expansion.  
  • Cherokee County: A $250,000 grant will support the renovation of TEAM Industries Andrews, Inc.’s current building in Andrews. TEAM Industries manufactures driveline components for the automotive and aerospace industries.

Vacant Building Category 

  • City of Morganton (Burke County): A $500,000 grant will support the reuse of a 102,368 square-foot building constructed in 1998. VEKA, a manufacturer of high-quality PVC window and door systems, will occupy the building. 
  • Cumberland County: A $27,780 grant will support the reuse of a 109,250 square-foot building in Fayetteville. Cambridge-Lee Industries manufactures copper plumbing tubes for water service and distribution, fire protection, solar, drainage and fuel distribution. The company has facilities and offices in eight other states. 
  • City of Gastonia (Gaston County): A $312,500 grant will support the reuse of a 200,00 square-foot building for Red Diamond. Red Diamond is a non-rail subsidiary of Progressive Rail that provides value-add services for food and feed commodities such as milling, blending and bagging. The company is a Class 1 connector with CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway. 
  • Pitt County: A $125,000 grant will support the reuse of a 15,668 square-foot building in Farmville. Carolina Poultry Power, a startup, will process poultry waste feedstock in a biomass boiler to generate steam. 
  • Transylvania County: A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 27,000 square-foot building in Lake Toxaway. The Greystone Inn is a hotel, restaurant and spa that closed its doors in 2014. This grant will support the reopening in spring of 2018. 
  • Wayne County: A $162,500 grant will support the reuse of a 47,599 square-foot building in Goldsboro. The building will be Alta Foods’ second location in Goldsboro. Alta Foods manufactures corn, flour, whole wheat and whole grain tortillas. 
  • Yancey County: A $25,000 grant will support the reuse of a 57,205 square-foot building in Burnsville. Mountain Electronics, an electric company serving the commercial laundry industry, will relocate to this site as they have outgrown their current space. 
  • Granville County: A $250,000 grant will support RiceWrap Foods’ reuse of a 90,000 square-foot building in Butner. RiceWrap Foods Corporation produces pre-made, frozen sticky rice shapes. 
  • Stanly County: A $350,000 grant will support the reuse of a 54,045 square-foot building in Albemarle for Quality Enclosures. Quality Enclosures produces shower enclosures and tempered glass. 

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.

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.