Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 17 grant requests to local governments totaling $6,570,274, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 377 jobs. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $23 million in private investment.  

“Communities across our state are going through challenging times right now, and we must continue to help rural North Carolina prepare for future economic growth,” Secretary Copeland said. “Rural Infrastructure Authority grants provide needed support for job creation in our rural areas, which are appealing places to live, work and grow a business.” 

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the RIA’s work. 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 can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.

“Through these newly-approved projects, rural areas of North Carolina will have resources to attract jobs, support business expansion, make health care accessible and prepare sites for future development,” said Assistant Secretary Flowers. “The Rural Economic Development Division at Commerce and the Rural Infrastructure Authority work closely with rural community leaders to facilitate opportunities for economic success.”

The RIA approved nine grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse program in three categories:

Vacant Building Category 

  • City of Hickory (Catawba County): A $75,000 grant will support the reuse of an 11,372-square-foot building, where Atriax, PLLC, an architectural and engineering, consulting, design and construction management firm, plans to relocate. The company expects to create 11 jobs while investing $1,286,805 in this project.
  • Town of Wallace (Duplin County): An $88,000 grant will support the reuse of a 2,950-square-foot building. CNG Partners, LLC, a startup renewable natural gas company, has plans to locate operations at this facility and produce a scalable solution for hog waste by installing digester systems on individual farms. The project is set to create 31 jobs with an investment of $142,742 by the company.
  • City of High Point (Guilford County): A $120,000 grant will support the reuse of a 16,200-square-foot building, where High Pint, LLC, a startup microbrewery, plans to locate. The company is set to manufacture a wide selection of craft brewed beers and distribute their products to local and international markets. The company expects to create 27 jobs and invest $4,073,287 in the project.
  • City of Statesville (Iredell County): A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 72,210-square-foot building. ZNDUS Inc., a global manufacturer of temporary fencing and pedestrian barricades, will make this facility its first operations site in the United States. This project is expected to create 34 jobs and represents a $714,070 investment by the company. 
  • Town of Nashville (Nash County): A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 10,000-square-foot building, where Chiron, LLC, a startup pharmaceutical firm, plans to locate. The company, which will manufacture a variety of dietary supplements to be sold through online sales, retail and wholesale outlets, plans to create 25 jobs and invest $1,819,185 in the project.
  • City of Eden (Rockingham County): A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 150,000-square-foot building, where ACES Holdings, LLC, plans to locate. The company, a manufacturer of CBD oil products including gel caps and tinctures, is set to create 66 jobs and invest $308,000 in this project. 

Existing Business Building Category

  • City of Lenoir (Caldwell County): A $200,000 grant will support the renovation of a 216,137-square-foot building that is occupied by Woodgrain Millwork, Inc. The company has divisions involved in lumber, millworking, window manufacturing, door manufacturing and distribution operations. Through this project, the company expects to add 33 jobs and invest $202,750.  

Rural Health Category

  • Town of Granite Falls (Caldwell County): A $210,000 grant will support the construction of a 57,188-square-foot building. Tullock Management, a senior healthcare provider, will expand its operations with a new 60-bed facility, to be named Grace Village Assisted Living, at this location. With this project, the company expects to create 21 jobs while investing $1,626,927.
  • City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $350,000 grant will support the expansion of a building at the Gibson Cancer Center, an outpatient cancer treatment facility that is part of Southeastern Health. This project will allow the center to add 7,377 square feet to the existing facility. The center expects to create 28 jobs while investing $4,348,000 in this expansion.

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 one request under the state’s Economic Infrastructure program:

  • City of Salisbury (Rowan County): A $110,000 grant will support the rerouting of 1,390 linear feet of existing sewer line so that PowerHouse Recycling (PHR) may expand its building and operations. PHR is a certified electronics recycler, secure data destruction and IT asset management company. This project is expected to allow the company to create 55 jobs and invest $4,275,034. 

The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments to assist with infrastructure projects that will lead to job creation. The program gives priority to jurisdictions in the 80 most economically distressed counties (Tiers 1 and 2) and can help 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 two requests under the state’s Rural Demolition Grant program: 

  • Town of Hobgood (Halifax County): An $11,250 grant will assist the Town in the demolition and removal of a 4,214-square-foot building, a former hardware store. Public water and sewer service are available to the site to serve future business needs.  
  • Pitt County: A $29,824 grant will support the demolition and removal of several asbestos-containing structures that are located on a 130-acre site recently purchased by the County. The site is adjacent to the Indigreen Corporate Park, and nearby utilities are ready for extension to any buildings constructed there.

The Rural Demolition program provides grants to local governments to support the demolition of a publicly-owned, persistently vacant building to encourage site rehabilitation and site availability for economic development purposes. Eligible applicants are units of local government located in either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, or a rural census tract in a Tier 3 county.
 
The RIA approved two requests under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Economic Development program:

  • Forsyth County: A $190,000 grant will support the reuse of a building in Rural Hall by Durisol Ltd., a manufacturer of absorptive highway barrier systems. The company plans to upgrade buildings at a vacant, 8.6-acre industrial site in order to produce pre-cast materials that will serve clients throughout the Southeastern United States. The project is expected to create 46 jobs and attract private investment in the amount of $4.5 million.
  • City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $400,000 grant will help complete an approximately 4-foot-high earthen berm around Rempac Foam Corporation’s 250,000-square-foot manufacturing plant to prevent flood damage from future hurricanes. This brings the total RIA support for the project to $1.5 million. The City will construct and maintain the berm on publicly-controlled easements. With the addition of the berm, Rempac will retain jobs and will be positioned for future growth.

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.

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

  • Town of Drexel (Burke County): A $647,100 grant will help the Town in its redevelopment of a 70-acre site that was the former home of the Drexel Heritage Furniture plant. Specifically, these grant funds, in conjunction with other funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, will support upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure to make this site a viable economic development target.  
  • Town of Louisburg (Franklin County): A $2,439,100 grant will assist the Town in the construction of water and sewer infrastructure, as well as industrial access, at the county's industrial park. The Town has made the 70-acre site a critical piece of its economic development strategy and intends to commit additional resources focused on recruitment. 
  • Richmond County: A $1 million grant will help the County extend sewer infrastructure to its new, 700-acre industrial park. This park currently has water, natural gas and heavy power service. The County believes this park, located less than one mile from Interstate 74, will be a benefit not only to Richmond County but also to many of the surrounding communities.   

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.
 
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.

For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit www.nccommerce.com/rd
 

This resource is related to: