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Aulander receives #036;250,000 grant

AULANDER – Major assistance for the business community in Aulander is on its way.

Representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development program presented a $250,000 check to the town of Aulander during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Aulander Community Building.

“I want to express our gratitude to the USDA Rural Development program and John Cooper for the funds they have provided to the town of Aulander,” Aulander Mayor Joe Jernigan said. “I also want to thank town administrator David Overton. David deserves a lot of the credit for making this happen.”

USDA provided a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to the town for the establishment of a small business incubator. Renovations are planned on two buildings located in downtown Aulander at 109 and 111 East Main Street. These buildings will provide a location for small businesses to begin operating until they become successful enough to find a permanent location. Once the buildings are renovated and outfitted, 3,529 square feet will be available for lease to potential businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of this nation’s economy and the Bush Administration is committed to providing support to the business community and their employees,” USDA Rural Development State Director John Cooper said.

Cooper praised the work of USDA Rural Development Area Director Garland Burnette, located in the Williamston office, and Overton.

“David understood what a rural economic grant is all about,” Cooper said.

“This grant will help small businesses get on their feet,” Rural Development area technician Leyta Harris said. “It will help revitalize the downtown of Aulander.”

“We are excited Aulander is taking a bold step to create jobs and we applaud the town’s efforts,” Ruben Clayton, representative for United States Congressman G.K. Butterfield, said. “This grant is all about teamwork and we are honored to be of service to the community.”

“I know you have a lot of hardworking people here with great foresight,” Betty Jo Shepherd, representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr said. “It is great working with the USDA Rural Development program.”

The Rural Development program also provides loans for police, fire and rescue departments as well as housing loans, especially loans and grants for the elderly. Many of the loans provided by Rural Development are for small towns and individuals who may have trouble receiving loans from banks.

“The town of Aulander has taken leadership on behalf of its citizens to make this happen,” Janet Bradbury, representative for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole said. “John Cooper and the Rural Development program have brought a lot of money back to North Carolina. We need to applaud USDA and congratulate the people of Aulander for their vision and hard work.”

“USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents,” Cooper said. “As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development and critical community and technology infrastructure.”

“We want people to know about these renovations,” Cooper emphasized. “This town is going to grow.”