Federal funds en route to Northampton

Published 10:39 am Monday, November 7, 2011

JACKSON — Congressman G.K. Butterfield will make a visit to Northampton County next week to present county officials with a federal grant.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Butterfield is scheduled to make a ceremonial check presentation to officials in the Northampton County Commissioners Board Room for an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant that will help build infrastructure for a major proposed project.

The funds, tallying $2,002,088, will assist in water and wastewater improvements needed to serve the Northampton Commerce Park, located near Lebanon Church Road and NC 46 between Gaston and Garysburg, and the proposed Enviva LP wood pellet manufacturing plant.

The project is expected to create 60 jobs and generate $60 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank made the announcement back in September.

In August the county applied for $930,000 in Community Development Block Grant-Economic Development funds from the state. They contracted with a grant writing agency (PRO, at a cost of $3,800) to help secure that grant.

The CDBG-ED grant will also help offset the cost of the infrastructure needs for the Enviva project. The cost associated with the project’s infrastructure is estimated at $3.6 million.

The Board of Commissioners has also approved a resolution in support of an economic development application for the Enviva project to state officials in considering providing additional funding in support of the Enviva project for the construction of the industrial access road. The preliminary estimate is that the road could cost up to $750,000 to construct.

Last month, the commissioners agreed to convey a 116 acre parcel within the Northampton County Commerce Park to Enviva.

Enviva LP announced in early August its plans to construct a wood pellet manufacturing mill, with an annual production capacity of 400,000 metric tons, in the Northampton County Commerce Park. The company, which will also open a similar plant in Ahoskie, manufactures markets and distributes high-quality industrial wood pellets for alternative fuel use to domestic and foreign markets, including the European Union.