“North Carolina’s overall success is rooted in the growth of our rural communities,” Governor Cooper said. “These grants provide the necessary infrastructure support that will yield more jobs, investments, and increased prosperity.”
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.
“Following another record year for economic development, increasing economic opportunities for North Carolina’s rural communities with improvements to building and utility infrastructure remains a top priority of mine,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “Our partnerships with local governments will enhance rural North Carolina’s competitive edge and increase our economy statewide.”
The RIA approved nine 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 reuse of a 65,000-square-foot building in Burlington. The building will be the home of Armen Stone, a startup company that fabricates countertops and distributes slabs of stone. This project is expected to create 25 jobs, with an investment of $2,835,300 by the company.
- Cleveland County: A $500,000 grant will support the reuse of a 253,500-square-foot building located in Shelby. The building will be occupied by Robert Bosch Tool, a manufacturer of power tools, power tool accessories, and measuring tools. The company will create 78 jobs and invest $744,534 in the project.
- Town of Weldon (Halifax County): A $60,000 grant will support the reuse of an 18,000-square-foot building in Weldon. Structural steel fabricator, Weldon Steel Corporation, will use the building for its construction services. The company expects to create 10 jobs and invest $1,510,000 in the project.
- Town of Aberdeen (Moore County): A $125,000 grant will support the reuse of a 60,000-square-foot building in Aberdeen. The building will be occupied by Bulldog Pipe, a veteran and family-owned extrusion company that manufactures high-density polyethylene pipe for various applications including the telecommunications, power utility, and electrical industries. This project is expected to create 26 jobs with an investment of $2,561,500 by the company.
Existing Business Building Category
- Alleghany County: A $180,000 grant will support the 60,000-square-foot expansion of a building in Sparta. The building is currently occupied by NAPCO, a designer and manufacturer of specialized packaging for video games, board games, and gifts. The project is expected to create 24 jobs with a $342,006 investment by the company.
- Town of Mocksville (Davie County): A $400,000 grant will support the expansion of a building occupied by Avgol Americas, Inc. in Mocksville. The company is a global supplier of non-woven hygiene solutions and plans to add 18,000 square feet to this flagship operation, creating 52 jobs and investing $1,642,184 in the project.
- City of Jacksonville (Onslow County): A $190,000 grant will support the renovation of a 109,662-square-foot building located in Jacksonville. The building is occupied by Stanadyne, LLC, a manufacturer of fuel pumps and fuel injectors for diesel and gasoline engines. The company will create 24 jobs and invest $190,000 in this project.
- Richmond County: A $450,000 grant will support the expansion of a building currently occupied by American Woodmark Corporation in Hamlet. The cabinet manufacturer distributes products for several brand names and plans to add 2,800 square feet to their existing facility. Overall, this project is expected to create 131 jobs, with 62 jobs and an investment of $9,267,531 tied to this grant.
- Sampson County: A $120,000 grant will support the renovation of a 400,000-square-foot building located in Roseboro. DuBose Steel operates a full-line structural steel service center that provides sheet, plate, structural, and tubular products to customers nationwide. The company will create 15 jobs and invest $540,000 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 Economic Infrastructure Program:
- Town of Dillsboro (Jackson County): An $80,000 grant will support the completion of water system improvements to provide enhanced fire protection water flow and pressure to serve The Jarrett House/Mount Beulah Hotel, an adjoining restaurant, and the Town of Dillsboro. The company plans to create eight jobs with an investment of $966,370.
The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments to assist with infrastructure projects that will lead to job creation. The program gives priority to jurisdictions in the 80 most economically distressed counties (Tiers 1 and 2) and can help build water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, natural gas lines, public broadband infrastructure, roadways, rail spurs, and other infrastructure allowed under program guidelines.
The RIA approved four requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:
- Town of Aurora (Beaufort County): A $500,000 grant will support the completion of infrastructure improvements at the Town’s 32-acre industrial park that targets the mining industry. Once the water, sewer, and industrial road access is complete, the Town expects a private investment of $11,000,000 at the park. The Authority approved $750,000 for the project in April 2019.
- Town of Mocksville (Davie County): A $1,089,000 grant will assist the Town of Mocksville in extending a water line to an elevated North Tank water tank that serves two growing business parks and other businesses along the I-40 corridor.
- Duplin County: A $2,750,500 grant will assist the county with infrastructure improvements in the Duplin Airpark Business and Industrial Park. The 117-acre industrial park is strategically located next to the airport.
- Franklin County: A $1,766,870 grant will assist the county with water, sewer and road access in the mid-section of the 85-acre Triangle North Franklin Business Park. This infrastructure support will help accelerate the life science manufacturing sector in the area. The Authority approved $269,529 for this project in February 2022.
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.