RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 21 grant requests to local governments totaling $5,916,198, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 1,200 jobs, 661 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $546 million in private investment.
“Investments in our rural communities help to foster a broad-based economic recovery for our entire state,” Governor Cooper said. “North Carolina’s Rural Infrastructure grants are helping counties, cities and towns make the improvements to water, wastewater and buildings that are essential to supporting the creation of good jobs.”
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.
“Infrastructure improvements play a key role in making places attractive for businesses and talent, which is why these grants are so important for the future of rural North Carolina,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “I’m proud of the collaborative efforts by our Rural Economic Development Division and the Rural Infrastructure Authority to help communities prepare for growth.”
The RIA approved 17 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:
Vacant Building Category
- Columbus County: A $90,000 grant will support the reuse of a 14,664-square-foot building in Fair Bluff, where Jay Technologies plans to locate. The company specializes in the sale and distribution of agricultural, chemical and plant treatments, primarily for organic farming applications. This project is expected to create 11 jobs, with an investment of $285,740 by the company.
- City of Rocky Mount (Edgecombe County): A $190,000 grant will support the reuse of a 4,000-square-foot building, where SePRO Corporation plans to locate. The company, which acquires, develops, manufactures and markets value-added products for aquatic and horticulture applications, plans to create 20 jobs and invest $2,324,162 in the project.
- Guilford County: A $475,000 grant will support the reuse of a 58,970-square-foot building in Greensboro. Guerrilla RF, Inc., a wireless semiconductor company that provides monolithic microwave integrated circuits for the automotive, 5G infrastructure and cellular booster markets, plans to locate operations at the site. The company is expected to create 50 jobs and invest $5,515,000 in the project.
- Robeson County: A $140,000 grant will support the reuse of a 52,000-square-foot building in Lumberton. The site will become a new location for Air Production & Service, Inc., a service, parts and equipment group providing facility solutions and maintenance support to industrial and railroad operations. Through this project, the company expects to create 14 jobs, with an investment of $2,610,000.
- Robeson County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 27,432-square-foot building in Fairmont. Brianwood Custom Meats, LLC, a startup meat processing facility, plans to process cattle and swine for wholesale and retail customers at this location. The company plans to create 30 jobs and invest $1,248,874 in the project.
- Sampson County: A $250,000 grant will support the reuse of a 78,000-square-foot building in Garland. At this location, Garland Apparel Group, LLC, a startup cut-and-sew company, plans to produce dress shirts for brand designers, in addition to military shirts and personal protective equipment (PPE) products. With this project, the company expects to create 160 jobs and invest $316,215.
- City of Wilson (Wilson County): A $175,000 grant will support the reuse of a 9,000-square-foot building, where North State Consulting, LLC, plans to locate. The company, which specializes in working with technology companies to help bring their products to market, expects to create 33 jobs and invest $804,103 in this project.
Existing Business Building Category
- Town of Hildebran (Burke County): A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 206,522-square-foot building that is occupied by Synergy Labs, a developer and manufacturer of pet and veterinary products. This project is expected to create 60 jobs, with an investment of $2,303,000 by the company.
- City of Claremont (Catawba County): A $375,000 grant will support the renovation of a 1.2-million-square-foot building that is occupied by Prysmian Cables and Systems. The company, which manufactures a variety of cable applications in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, plans to create 50 jobs and invest $3,928,750 in the project.
- Craven County: A $120,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in New Bern that is occupied by Carolina Ground Service Equipment, Inc. The company, a provider of ground support equipment and avionics solutions, plans to add 20,000 square feet to the existing facility through this project, while creating 15 jobs and investing $1,454,634.
- Town of Mocksville (Davie County): A $100,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Sportsfield Specialties, Inc., which designs, develops and manufactures a variety of products for the sports equipment market. The company plans to add 29,800 square feet to the existing facility, while creating 20 jobs and investing $1,905,000 in this project.
- Forsyth County: A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a 435,012-square-foot building in Winston-Salem that is occupied by Ardagh Group, a global manufacturer of metal and glass packaging, including aluminum beverage cans and can ends. The company plans to add two new manufacturing lines with this expansion project, which is set to add 94 jobs and attract $216,004,000 in private investment.
- Town of Benson (Johnston County): A $250,000 grant will support the renovation of a 500,000-square-foot building that is occupied by Chicopee, Inc. The company is a manufacturer of plastic products, with key business lines including innovative packaging and engineered products for a variety of commercial and consumer applications. This project is expected to create 50 jobs, with an investment of $14,630,000 by the company.
- Pitt County: A $35,000 grant will support the renovation of an 8,030-square-foot building in Greenville that is occupied by Greenville Produce. The company, which provides produce from a variety of sources and serves businesses throughout eastern North Carolina, plans to add 10 jobs and invest $171,024 in this project.
- Robeson County: A $170,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Fairmont. At this location, Harger Lighting & Grounding, Inc., a manufacturer of lighting protection and grounding equipment, plans to add 20,000 square feet to the existing facility. This project is expected to create 20 jobs, with an investment of $4,088,000 by the company.
- Warren County: A $500,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Norlina that is occupied by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, LLC, a leading provider of innovative performance textiles. The company plans to add 315,000 square feet to the existing facility, while creating 205 jobs and investing $85.3 million in the expansion project.
Rural Health Category
- Yancey County: A $200,000 grant will support the reuse of a 2,916-square-foot building in Burnsville. Bakersville Community Medical Clinic, which provides primary care, pregnancy care and behavioral health care, plans to establish a new office at this location. The clinic expects to create 16 jobs, with a private investment of $255,573 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:
- Halifax County: A $150,000 grant will support the demolition and removal of several existing buildings, turbine decks, cooling towers and concrete stacks from a site in Weldon that was formerly used as a coal-fired power facility. This grant is set to attract $350,000 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 one request under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Economic Development program:
- Nash County: A $750,000 grant will support renovations to a vacant food processing facility in Nashville, where The Crump Group, a family-owned Canadian company that produces dehydrated pet treats, plans to locate a plant. This facility’s strategic location will allow for the use of local chicken, beef and sweet potatoes as ingredients. Grant funds will assist with retrofitting the facility through structural repairs, as well as HVAC, sprinkler system, electrical, plumbing, ceiling and flooring upgrades. The project is expected to create 160 jobs, with an overall investment of $20,500,006 by the company.
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 provide grants to local governments for creating and retaining jobs. Project funding is based on the number of jobs to be created and the level of economic distress of applicant communities.
The RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:
- Halifax County: A $446,198 grant will help the County relocate sewer infrastructure in order to support a site in Weldon, where Roseburg Forest Products, a manufacturer of high-quality, sustainably harvested, wood-based products, will develop a high-tech sawmill operation. The overall project is expected to create 137 jobs and attract $200 million in private investment, with a $182.5 million investment tied to this grant.
- Stanly County: A $300,000 grant will support efforts by the County to extend industrial road access into Riverstone Industrial Park in Stanfield. This second point of access for the park will accommodate American Racing Headers & Exhaust, which is planning to locate a new manufacturing facility at the site. The company, a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of stainless-steel headers and exhaust system components, is expected to create 63 new jobs in the overall project, with 45 jobs tied to this grant.
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, which are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Funds may be used for publicly-owned infrastructure projects that are reasonably expected to result in new job creation. The IDF – Utility Account is funded through a process tied to the state’s signature Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. When JDIG-awarded companies choose to locate or expand in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.
In addition to reviewing and approving funding requests, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority formulates policies and priorities for grant and loan programs administered by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. Its 17 voting members are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem. The North Carolina Secretary of Commerce serves as a member of the Authority, ex officio.
For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit www.nccommerce.com/rd.