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Sampson gets $1.3M grant to develop industrial site

February 20, 2021

[Source: The Sampson Independent]

Sampson County has been awarded nearly $1.3 million from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Industrial Development Fund, the first IDF grant ever awarded to the county, local officials announced on Friday.

The funds, in the specific amount of $1,281,995, are earmarked to extend a roadway and existing water and sewer lines to the county’s newly acquired 120‐acre site at the Sampson Southeast Business Center in Clinton.

In September 2020, the Sampson Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to spend more than $2 million to purchase approximately 122 acres of property in the Sampson Southeast Business Center as an anchor for its future economic development efforts.

Economic Development Director Stephen Barrington expressed his gratitude to both the Department of Commerce and to the Sampson County Board of Commissioners for their commitment to the county’s economic development.

“Our forward-thinking commissioners have demonstrated their commitment to our economic growth in the establishment of an economic development reserve fund and recently the acquisition of an industrial park site with such potential,” he stated. “We welcome these grant funds as the opportunity to capitalize on the Board of Commissioner’s prudent land investment, creating a shovel‐ready site attractive to light manufacturers who create higher‐paying job opportunities for our residents.”

Last year, Sampson County leaders negotiated the purchase of two separate parcels located on both sides of Industrial Drive and Armory Road, including a 62.7-acre parcel from Summer B. Berry and husband, Jeffrey Scott Berry; and a 59.6-acre parcel from Lynn S. Carr, Jacqueline R. Carr, Karen Carr Gearing and John S. Gearing.

The proposed purchase price for the Berry property was $1,097,880 and the proposed purchase price for the Carr/Gearing property was $1,042,790, with closing costs not to exceed $7,500 for either.

The source of funding for the acquisition was a combination of Sampson County’s economic development reserve fund and its general fund.

In 2018, the Economic Development Reserve Fund was established with an initial contribution of $1.5 million and anticipated annual deposits of $250,000, earmarked for strategic land purchases and industrial site development. Those annual appropriations to the economic development fund have been made, with the exception of $250,000 not included at the time of the 2020-21’s budget adoption amid uncertain pandemic times.

The N.C. Commerce’s 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 expected to result in new job creation.

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