Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved seven grant requests totaling $1,296,030, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 153 jobs, 80 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract just over $32.7 million in private investment. 

“Economic development in rural North Carolina can only succeed with strategic investments in infrastructure,” said Secretary Copeland. “By awarding these new grants, the Rural Infrastructure Authority continues to support job creation in communities across our state.”

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 Rural Economic Development and Workforce Solutions 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 projects approved today will support business expansion and prepare sites for future growth, resulting in more job opportunities for rural North Carolinians,” said Assistant Secretary Flowers. “The Rural Economic Development Division at Commerce and the Rural Infrastructure Authority board work closely with our rural communities to help them attract jobs and investment.”

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

Existing Building Category

  • Anson County: A $165,000 grant will support the expansion of a 100,000-square-foot building in Polkton occupied for the past 50 years by Southern Fabricators, a sheet metal fabricator and custom welder. The company will create 33 jobs and invest $4,804,771 with the expansion project.

Vacant Building Category 

  • Burke County: A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 165,791-square-foot building in Morganton. Jackson Corrugated, a subsidiary of Jackson Paper, will locate in the facility, creating 42 jobs and investing $12,029,961. The company produces recycled corrugated paper for use in corrugated boxes. 
  • City of Sanford (Lee County): A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 145,410-square-foot vacant building in Sanford. Caterpillar, a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, plans to use the facility to expand its skid steer loader manufacturing capacity. The company will create 40 jobs and invest $15 million in the project. 
  • Lincoln County: A $38,000 grant will support the renovation of a 19,456-square-foot building in Lincolnton. Texture Plus, which manufactures interlocking wall panels, plans to relocate its entire operation from New York to the facility, creating 38 jobs and investing $871,021. This grant is in addition to a $125,000 grant approved by the RIA board earlier this year.

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 Economic Infrastructure program, all in the Rural Demolition category:

  • Town of Lewiston Woodville (Bertie County): A $40,950 grant will support the demolition of a 10,400-square-foot building in downtown Lewiston Woodville that has been vacant since 2004. The property could support future retail business opportunities. 
  • Halifax County: A $23,205 grant will support the demolition of seven former agricultural structures located on the entrance site to the Halifax Corporate Park. The site’s close proximity to I-95 puts it in a strong position for future industrial development.
  • Town of Winton (Hertford County): A $28,875 grant will support the demolition of a 6,300-square-foot building in downtown Winton that has been vacant for 32 years. Demolition would allow for future redevelopment and job creation. 

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.

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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