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Gov. Cooper announces grants to rural communities to attract 446 new jobs, more than $32 million in private investment

The public investment in these projects will attract more than $32 million in private investment.
Credit: AP
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 11 grant requests to local governments totaling $3,702,500, Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday.

The requests include commitments to create a total of 486 jobs, 40 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $32 million in private investment.  

“Rural Infrastructure grants help speed up recovery across our state,” Governor Cooper said. “Stronger, more resilient buildings and water and sewer systems attract good jobs for North Carolinians and greater investment by innovative companies.”

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.

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“Through these new grants, we will help support the resiliency of North Carolina’s rural areas, so that they can attract jobs and build for the future,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “Our Rural Economic Development Division and the RIA are proud to continue working with local communities to create the conditions for economic growth.”

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

Vacant Building Category

  • City of Burlington (Alamance County): A $200,000 grant will support the renovation of a 26,500-square-foot building, where Mongoose, LLC, plans to relocate and combine operations. The company, which designs and manufactures high-end furnishings from recycled textiles and clothing, expects to create 24 jobs and invest $3,747,792 in this project.
  • City of Lenoir (Caldwell County): A $500,000 grant will support the reuse of a 74,646-square-foot building, where Exela Pharma Sciences, LLC, plans to establish operations. The company, a pharmaceutical manufacturer of generic and private label products, plans to create 50 jobs while investing $1,350,000 in the project.
  • Columbus County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 200,000-square-foot building in Fair Bluff. At this location, Pipeline Plastics Holdings, a manufacturer of high-performance industrial pipeline systems, plans to establish a new production facility to better serve customers along the East Coast. Through the overall project, the company plans to create 44 jobs and invest $4.6 million, while 40 jobs and a $720,000 investment are tied to this grant.

Existing Business Building Category

  • Alexander County: An $80,000 grant will support the renovation of a 25,000-square-foot building in Taylorsville that is occupied by Industrial Timber, Inc., a manufacturer of wood furniture frames. The company plans to expand manufacturing operations through this renovation, while creating 10 jobs and investing $1,434,200. 
  • Gaston County: A $140,000 grant will support the renovation of a 116,874-square-foot building in Gastonia that is occupied by Metyx USA, Inc. The company, which manufactures textile fabrics for the wind, construction and auto industries, plans to add an additional line to expand operations. This project is set to create 24 jobs, with an investment of $4,655,000 by the company.
  • Greene County: A $75,000 grant will support the renovation of a 10,559-square-foot building in Snow Hill that is occupied by Building Envelope Erection Services, Inc. The company, which produces and installs aluminum, glass and other facade components for use in commercial building projects, plans to create 9 jobs and invest $873,825 in the project.

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:

  • Town of Holly Ridge (Onslow County): A $150,000 grant will support the demolition and removal of asphalt taxiways and runways from the Phase II section of the Camp Davis Industrial Park. The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded funds for stormwater construction, while the Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account has awarded funds for water, sewer and roads for Phase II of the park. This grant is set to attract $50,000 in additional funds for the demolition project, while the overall project will support future job creation and private investments.

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:

  • Lincoln County: A $750,000 grant will support the renovation of a vacant building in Lincolnton. At this location, Hodges International, a small business that manufactures apparel and home textiles for retailers, plans to establish operations. This project is expected to create 104 jobs, with an investment of $6.3 million by the company.
  • Robeson County: A $1 million grant will support the renovation of a vacant building in Pembroke, where Champion Home Builders plans to locate. The company, a builder of manufactured and modular homes throughout the eastern United States, plans to create 225 jobs and invest $13,240,000 in this project.

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