Rural Communities In NC Will Receive $10.6 Million To Support Economic Growth

Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 22 grant requests totaling $10,637,897, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 252 new jobs. An additional 510 new jobs associated with these grants have been previously announced.

“Modern infrastructure is a key component for attracting business,” said Secretary Copeland. “These grants will help counties and towns meet the needs of business by upgrading water and sewer systems, buildings, and industrial access points all across the state.”

The Authority’s work is supported by a team of rural economic specialists at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Authority members review and approve funding requests from local communities, using a variety of specialized grant and loan programs. These programs are offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by newly appointed Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Napoleon Wallace. Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building demolition, renovation and expansion, and site improvements.

In today’s round of grants, the RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:

• City of Shelby (Cleveland County): A $1,000,000 grant to upgrade infrastructure in support of the 180-job expansion by Clearwater Paper Corporation, previously announced in February of this year. The RIA also awarded a CDBG-ED grant for infrastructure in conjunction with this project (see below).
• City of Henderson (Vance County): A $217,272 grant to provide city water and sewer service to Robco Manufacturing, a manufacturer of aluminum marine structures. The company will undertake a 55,000 square foot building expansion and add 10 jobs to its operations, a plan that depends on the infrastructure upgrade. The public investment leverages a private-sector investment of $3 million at the site.
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 counties of the state classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2, in order to better prepare those communities to attract new business. 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 either a Tier 2 or 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:

• Martin County: A $387,500 grant to assist with the construction of a rail spur to serve the Martin Regional Business Park. The spur will benefit Weitron, a packager of refrigerant gases, which will locate operations to Martin County. 31 new jobs are tied to this grant, which were previously announced in conjunction with the company’s recent One North Carolina grant. The RIA also awarded a CDBG-ED grant for Building Reuse in conjunction with this project (see below).
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 six grants under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Economic Development program:
• Town of Valdese (Burke County): A $500,000 grant to demolish and clear the 61,739 square foot Alba Waldensian Plant textile mill, constructed in 1927. The town indicates that Valdese Water Recycling plans to build a $1 million office and testing center at the site.
• City of Shelby (Cleveland County): A $3,000,000 grant to assist with the construction of 20,600 linear feet of 24-inch gravity sewer line, 12,000 linear feet of 16-inch force main water line and upgrading the lift station. The public infrastructure upgrade will support Clearwater Paper Corporation’s 180-job expansion in Shelby, announced in February. The company is committing $330 million in private investment.
• Edgecombe County: A $367,000 grant to demolish and clear a 15,573 square foot building constructed in 1936. This will free up a 23-acre site suitable for light manufacturing.
• Town of Selma (Johnston County): A $750,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant 100,000 square foot building. Selma Precision Technologies manufacturers high-precision machine components and will be creating 38 new jobs at this location.
• Town of Robersonville (Martin County): A $150,000 grant to support renovation if a two-story building built in 1910. The renovation will support several small businesses, including Curlz & Dots Monogramming.
• Martin County: A $620,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant 53,000 square foot industrial building in Everetts. Weitron, a packager of refrigerant gases, will locate operations to Martin County. 31 new jobs are tied to this grant, which were previously announced in conjunction with the company’s recent One North Carolina grant. The public investment is drawing $13.5 million in private investment to the location.
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 13 grants under the state’s Building Reuse program, in several categories:

Existing Building Category
• Town of Granite Falls (Caldwell County): A $400,000 grant to support the renovation of a 36,179 square foot building constructed in 1915 to benefit AMP Services, a manufacturer of LED lighting. The project, located in the downtown district, will create 40 jobs.
• McDowell County: A $500,000 grant to support the renovation of a 1.2 million square foot building in Marion, constructed in 1972. Baxter Healthcare, which manufactures a broad portfolio of renal and hospital products will expand operations, creating 90 jobs that were first announced in March of this year. The public dollars will leverage $6.9 million in private investment.
• Pitt County: A $400,000 grant to support expansion of a 350,000 square foot building in Greenville to benefit Grady-White Boats, creating 44 new jobs. The public investment is attracting $5.8 million in private-sector investment.
• Town of Seagrove (Randolph County): A $250,000 grant to support renovation of a 30,678 square foot building enabling Sapona Plastics to expand its operations. The company provides injection molding and assembly of plastic parts. Sapona Plastics will add 25 new jobs, and the public grant will attract $2,710,291 in private investment to the project.
• City of Morganton (Burke County): A $1,000,000 grant to support the expansion of a 216,179 square foot building in Morganton housing Continental Automotive. The German automotive components manufacturer will add 52,000 square feet to the facility. The public investment leverages a private investment of $9.8 million, and supports 135 new jobs previously announced in conjunction with a Job Development Investment Grant awarded on Monday (April 18).
• City of Asheboro (Randolph County): A $225,000 grant to support the renovation of a 72,000 square foot building in Asheboro housing SouthCorr, a corrugated packaging company. The project was awarded a One North Carolina Fund grant on April 7, when the 22 new jobs associated with this project were first announced. The public investment leverages a private investment of $8,369,290.
Vacant Building Category

• City of Morganton (Burke County): A $400,000 grant to support the reuse of a 158,856 square foot building to benefit Kellex Seating, a manufacturer and supplier of upholstered furniture. 32 new jobs are tied to the grant, with 166 jobs being retained. The public dollars will leverage $2,965,000 in private investment.
• Town of Louisburg (Franklin County): A $20,000 grant to support reuse of a 1,200 square foot building that has stood vacant for four years. A State Farm Insurance agency will use the location, creating 4 new jobs and investing $25,280.
• Town of Benson (Johnston County): A $125,000 grant to support reuse of a 67,298 square foot building that’s been vacant for one year. Metallum Recycling, a provider of waste disposal services, will create 25 new jobs. The public investment leverages $241,426 in private-sector investment.
• Town of Aberdeen (Moore County): A $55,000 grant to support the reuse of a 129,250 square foot building. Reliance Packaging, an extruded film and bag manufacturer will create 11 new jobs. The public investment is attracting $3,555,000 in private investment.
• City of Greenville (Pitt County): A $150,000 grant to support the renovation of a 26,000 square foot building. Caremaster, a fire and water restoration company, will operate from the facility, creating 15 jobs. The public investment will be leveraged by $267,132 in private-sector investment.
• Caldwell County: A $44,525 grant to support reuse of a 30,649 square foot building in Lenoir for use by Ryan-Al Door Systems. The building, constructed in 1968, has been vacant for 7 years and this project will create 52 new jobs, previously announced in conjunction with an award from the One North Carolina Fund. The fiberglass door manufacturer will relocate its manufacturing operations from China to North Carolina with this decision.
Rural Healthcare Category

• Stanly County: A $76,600 grant to support the reuse of a 3,000 square foot building in Locust. Locust Pediatric Dentistry will operate from the location, creating 8 new jobs. The public investment is drawing $310,776 from the private-sector.
The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments in order 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 nccommerce.com/rd.