The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 11 grant requests to local governments totaling $4,127,500, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 460 jobs, 307 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $69 million in private investment.
“Smart investments in infrastructure are essential to strengthening rural North Carolina communities,” Secretary Copeland said. “By awarding these new grants, the Rural Infrastructure Authority continues to help these communities prepare for economic development that creates good jobs.”
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.
“With the projects approved today, rural areas of North Carolina have new resources to help attract jobs, support business expansion 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 leaders in rural communities to facilitate opportunities for economic growth.”
The RIA approved six grants under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories:
Vacant Building Category
City of Burlington (Alamance County): A $312,500 grant will support the reuse of a 12,000-square-foot building. National OnDemand, which provides installation and construction services for the broadband and telecommunications industry, plans to locate in the building. The project is expected to create 33 jobs and represents an investment of $513,450 by the company.
City of Hickory (Catawba County): A $500,000 grant will support the reuse of a 344,000-square-foot building, where Design Foundry will open a new manufacturing facility. The company, which manufactures upholstered furniture in partnership with a major furniture and home goods retailer, plans to create 109 jobs and invest $2,061,654 in this project.
City of Thomasville (Davidson County): A $25,000 grant will support the reuse of a 37,268-square-foot building, which will be occupied by Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retail store. The company plans to create five jobs and invest $1,137,948 in the project.
Existing Building Category
City of Conover (Catawba County): A $500,000 grant will support a 32,000-square-foot expansion of a building occupied by StarSnax, a manufacturer of branded, private label tortilla chips and a domestic and international supplier for major food brands, grocery store chains and club stores. The project is expected to create 33 jobs, with an investment of $1,925,856 by the company.
Town of Edenton (Chowan County): A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 38,000-square-foot building occupied by Daedalus Composites, a yacht design, engineering and manufacturing company that specializes in thermoformed carbon fiber composites. The company plans to create 50 jobs and invest $1,137,803 in the project.
Town of Mooresville (Iredell County): A $300,000 grant will support the 48,000-square-foot expansion of a building occupied by BestCo. The company, a developer of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter drug products and dietary supplements, plans to create 61 jobs and invest $47,284,000 in the 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 Rural Demolition grant program:
City of High Shoals (Gaston County): A $150,000 grant will assist with the demolition and removal of debris from the former Burlington Industries mill site. The property includes 30 acres with access to city water and sewer and will be redeveloped for economic development use.
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:
City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $1,100,000 grant will help build a 4-foot-high berm around Rempac Foam Corporation’s 250,000-square-foot manufacturing plant to prevent flood damage from future hurricanes. 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.
City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $400,000 grant will support asbestos abatement, demolition and removal of a pre-existing 72,200-square-foot motel and restaurant, which was inundated by flood waters and severely damaged by both Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Robeson Food, LLC will redevelop the site. The first phase will include the construction of three restaurants, and a proposed second phase will feature construction of a new hotel. The project is expected to create 20 jobs and attract $2,600,000 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.
The RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:
City of Hickory (Catawba County): A $225,000 grant will help provide industrial road access at Trivium Corporate Center, a 270-acre business park. ITM Medical Isotopes, a German-based company that develops, produces and supplies innovative diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals, has selected the park in Hickory as the location for its first North American manufacturing facility. This project will support the creation of 137 jobs and a $12 million investment by the company.
Warren County: A $115,000 grant will support the extension of the county’s water system to serve Heritage Mulch Company. The 1,000-foot waterline extension will allow the company to expand into the dyeing business and use a recirculation system that should significantly reduce waste. The company plans to create 12 jobs and invest $515,000 in this project.
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 16 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 www.nccommerce.com/rd.