The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 16 grant requests to local governments totaling $3,938,829, Governor Roy Cooper announced June 16, in a press release. The requests include commitments to create a total of 472 jobs, 137 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $67 million in private investment.

“With the help of these grants, we are able to attract new jobs to rural communities across the state,” Governor Cooper said. “These investments generate more economic opportunity, renovated buildings, enhanced access to healthcare and fortified water and sewer service, all of which improve the lives and livelihoods of rural residents.”

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 Economic Development Kenny Flowers. Grants can support a variety of activities including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.

“Employers are locating and expanding every day in resilient rural North Carolina, demonstrating their commitment to bolstering our competitive economy,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “These infrastructure grants allow us to welcome manufacturers and other businesses to our state, creating a mutually-beneficial relationship between our local communities and a number of innovative companies.”

The RIA approved 13 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:

Vacant Building Category

Town of Hudson (Caldwell County): A $120,000 grant will support the reuse of a 53,560-square-foot building in Hudson. The building will be occupied by Harmony Timberworks, a manufacturer of a variety of high-end wood products. This project is expected to create 15 jobs, with an investment of $145,000 by the company.

Robeson County: A $500,000 grant willsupport the reuse of a 140,000-square-foot building in Fairmont. The building will be occupied by Atlantic Building Components, a manufacturer of roof and floor trusses. The overall project is expected to create 105 jobs, with an investment of more than $5.2 million by the company, while 84 jobs and an investment of $4,711,500 are tied to this grant.

Duplin County: A $375,000 grant will support the reuse of a 245,000-square-foot building in Warsaw. The building will be occupied by Warsawing Cabinets dba Design Mode Cabinetry. The company will design, manufacture, and distribute entry-level and mid-level frameless cabinets for single-family kitchens and multi-family developments. This project is expected to create 139 jobs and an investment of more than $13.5 million overall, with 53 jobs and an investment of $680,000 tied to this grant.

Forsyth County: A $300,000 grant will support the reuse of a 5,300-square-foot building in Winston-Salem. The building will be occupied by Cathtek, a medical device development and manufacturing company. This project is expected to create 60 jobs, with an investment of $1,629,375 by the company.

City of High Point (Guilford County): A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a 36,950-square-foot building in High Point. The building will be occupied by Metal Works of High Point. The company manufactures metal components, weldments, and assemblies. This project is expected to create 20 jobs, with an investment of $2,719,000 by the company.

Rutherford County: A $50,000 grant will support the reuse of a 36,689-square-foot building in Ellenboro. The building will be occupied by CrossAir, a manufacturer of ventilation systems and air pollution control equipment. This project is expected to create 7 jobs with an investment of $772,827 by the company.

Transylvania County: A $30,000 grant will support the reuse of a 6,400-square-foot building in Brevard. The building will be occupied by Survival Innovations. The company manufactures lifesaving and restraint devices for the aerospace industry and the United States Department of Defense. This project is expected to create 11 jobs with an investment of $60,014 by the company.

Existing Business Building Category

City of Newton (Catawba County): A $70,000 grant will support the renovation of a 100,000-square-foot building in Conover. The building is occupied by Pregis PolyMask, a manufacturer and provider of innovative packaging and protective products utilized in the housing and consumer marketplace. This project is expected to create 10 jobs, with an investment of over $1.4 million by the company.

Town of Tarboro (Edgecombe County): A $475,000 grant will support the renovation of a 238,798-square-foot building in Tarboro that is occupied by LS Cable & System. The company develops, produces, and provides power and telecommunication cables and systems, as well as engineering services and the installation and commissioning of high voltage landlines. The project is expected to create 61 jobs, with an investment of $20,960,369 by the company.

Gaston County: A $250,000 grant will support a 12,500-square-foot expansion of a building in Belmont. The building is occupied by DePalo Foods, a company that manufactures Italian food for the retail sector. Their products include pizza dough, strombolis, and calzones. The project is expected to create 40 jobs, with an investment of $2,020,479 by the company.

Pitt County: A $75,000 grant will support a 3,800-square-foot expansion of a building in Greenville occupied by North State Steel. The company specializes in structural steel fabrication in North Carolina and Virginia. The project is expected to create 11 jobs, with an investment of $893,145 by the company.

Rutherford County: A $160,000 grant will support a 30,000-square-foot expansion of a building in Spindale. The building is occupied by Fountain Electric Service, an electrical construction and service contractor. The project is expected to create 20 jobs, with an investment of $1,085,500 by the company.

Rural Health Category

Town of Elkin (Surry County): A $150,000 grant will support the reuse of a vacant, 8,840-square-foot building in Elkin. At this location, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital plans to establish a primary care facility with urgent care services. This project is expected to create 15 jobs, with an investment of $3,767,375 by the hospital.

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 request under the state’s Industrial Development Fund — Utility Account program:

Burke County: A $377,497 grant will assist the county in providing a sewer extension at the Burke Business Park for a new, 500,000-square-foot facility operated by Unix Packaging, LLC, a beverage manufacturing company. The company plans to create at least 65 jobs and invest $25.95 million in the overall project.

Town of Holly Ridge (Onslow County): A $730,000 grant will assist the Town of Holly Ridge in completing the second phase of development at the 160-acre Camp Davis Industrial Park. The project includes water and sewer infrastructure, as well as road access.

Warren County: A $176,332 grant will assist the county in extending its water system to serve Heritage Mulch Company. Once completed, the 600-foot waterline extension will allow the company to expand and create jobs.

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 the Rural Economic Development Division, visit www.NCCommerce.com/rd.

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