$4.5 million granted to rural communities

Published 10:33 am Monday, June 26, 2017

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 14 grant requests totaling $4,528,942, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced this week.

The requests – two of which are in the Roanoke-Chowan area – include commitments to create a total of 94 new jobs.  Secretary Copeland previously announced an additional 158 new jobs associated with these grants. The public investment in these projects is attracting $46 million in private investment.

“The Rural Infrastructure Authority’s grants create jobs and help communities become better positioned for economic growth,” said Secretary Copeland. “These investments improve infrastructure and support projects that will make our rural communities even more attractive to businesses and the employees they want to recruit and retain.”

A team of rural economic development specialists at the N.C. Department of Commerce support the Authority’s work.  Authority 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 Napoleon Wallace.  Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.

“The Rural Division was established to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life of North Carolinians, particularly those in rural areas,” said Assistant Secretary Wallace. “Today’s grants demonstrate the many tools we have to make our rural communities attractive to business.”

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 are granted to local governments to enhance the vitality of communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities.

The RIA approved five grants under the state’s Building Reuse Program in several categories. Two of those five grants were awarded to:

(Existing Building Category) – Northampton County: A $210,000 grant to support the renovation of a 26,650-square-foot building in Severn, constructed in 1986.  Northampton Peanut Company, a peanut processor with a variety of products has operated in Severn since the 1940’s. The renovation will create 21 jobs and will be supported by $4.9 million in private investment; and

(Vacant Building Category) – Bertie County: A $25,000 grant to support the reuse of a 3,500-square-foot building in Windsor that has stood vacant for 12 years.  Abrams, a restaurant and catering establishment, will add the location to its six others in North Carolina, creating five new jobs and investing $410,300.

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.

For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit http://www.nccommerce.com/rd.