RALEIGH, N.C. — On June 16, Governor Roy Cooper announced the City of Greenville was one of 30 local governments in rural areas across the state to be awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a new source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina funded by the federal American Rescue Plan.

The office of State Representative Brian Farkas’ (D-Pitt) assisted the City with its successful application when it was submitted in April.

“This is another big win for Pitt County as we cement our status as the epicenter of Eastern North Carolina,” said Rep. Farkas. “The intentional revitalization of Greenville’s commercial core is a key part of our economic growth and long-term prosperity.”

The City has clearly outlined its plans for the use of the $875,000 Rural Transformation Grant, using them in conjunction with local dollars to fund the design and construction of streetscape improvements along Ficklen, West 8th, West 9th, and Washington Streets. The proposed work includes updates to ADA ramps and the addition of standard sidewalk on both sides of the roadway. Other improvements include the addition of canopy trees spaced approximately every 150 feet, bicycle racks where appropriate, enhanced street/pedestrian lighting, trash receptacles, and decorative signs. Street reconstruction and stormwater improvements will also be completed along the Ficklen Street corridor. Work starts October 1, 2022.

As detailed in the application, the City believes the project will enhance pedestrian and vehicular transportation in the Uptown/Dickinson Avenue area by providing better connectivity between housing, transportation, and employment hubs. With close proximity to the G.K. Butterfield Transportation Center and the local greenway system, the enhanced connections should amplify residents’ access to other areas within the City and beyond. The addition of street trees to this vital corridor will help mitigate stormwater impacts, climate change, and the Urban Heat-Island Effect. The streetscape aesthetic will improve the roadway quality and safety, promoting a healthy lifestyle and business/social activity. The increased property tax values and sales tax revenues generated by these improvements should yield positive long-term economic impacts as more people regularly visit the area and call it home.

Other Pitt County communities will have future opportunities to pursue Rural Transformation Grants. The application window for the second round of funding will open in early September 2022. More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund is available at nccommerce.com/transform.