The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 14 grant requests to local governments totaling $2,979,648, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The $2.9 million in funding is on top of more than $42 million already awarded this year, making 2022 a record year for RIA investment in rural North Carolina. The requests include commitments to create a total of 494 jobs, 128 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $295 million in private investment.
“When we use these infrastructure grants to help rural North Carolina thrive, we improve our whole state’s economic competitiveness,” said Governor Cooper. “We are strengthening local communities by making strategic investments in facilities and sites that will host 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.
“With these latest RIA grants, our rural programs have invested more than $87 million in rural communities this year, which helps us achieve another banner year for economic development in North Carolina,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “These grants play a key role in creating jobs and attracting investment, and we are pleased to be able to partner with local governments to support their economic growth.”
The RIA approved 12 grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:
Vacant Building Category
- City of Newton (Catawba County): A $175,000 grant will support the reuse of a 67,500-square-foot building. Pasta Piccinini, an Italian-based manufacturer of pasta products, plans to establish operations at this location. The company is expected to create 27 jobs while investing $4,933,750 in the project.
- City of Rocky Mount (Nash County): A $300,000 grant will support the reuse of a 224,000-square-foot building, where Woodgrain, Inc., plans to locate. The company, which has divisions involved in lumber, mill working, window manufacturing, door manufacturing and distribution operations. Overall, the project will create 42 jobs and invest $7.5 million, while an investment of $1,465,000 tied to this project.
- City of Asheboro (Randolph County): A $25,000 grant will support the reuse of a 1,400-square-foot building. UpStyled Goods, LLC, a new retail company that produces upcycled goods from scrap fabric, plans to occupy this facility. The project is expected to create five jobs, with a $206,076 investment by the company.
Existing Business Building Category
- City of Burlington (Alamance County): A $500,000 grant will support the expansion of Alamance Foods, Inc. into a 220,000-square-foot building. The company manufactures branded and private label products including aerosol whipped cream, freeze pops, drinks and bottled water. The overall project will create 135 jobs with an investment of $43 million, while 86 jobs are tied to this grant.
- City of Morganton (Burke County): A $500,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Gerresheimer Glass, Inc., a manufacturer of pharmaceutical packing supplies. The company plans to add 80,000 square feet of space to the existing facility. This project is expected to create 78 jobs, with an investment of $3,325,000 by the company.
- Chatham County: A $60,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Goldston. At this location, Gaines Oil Company plans to add 2,000 square feet to their existing facility. The company, a multi-faceted distributor of oil, plans to create 14 jobs and invest $352,330 in this project.
- City of Lexington (Davidson County): A $130,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Childress Winery, LLC, which produces a broad range of over 30 wines. The company plans to expand their fermentation building by adding 26,000 square feet to the existing facility. This project is expected to create 20 jobs and attract a private investment of $5,001,500.
- City of Thomasville (Davidson County): A $155,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by A.M. Haire Manufacturing and Service Corporation. The company, which designs, manufactures and markets truck bodies for the dry freight industry, plans to add 40,308 square feet to the existing facility. The project is expected to create 31 jobs, with an investment of $1,632,518 by the company.
- Jackson County: A $60,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Sylva that is occupied by American Sewing Corp., a contract manufacturer of textile products for various applications. The company plans to add 12,000 square feet to the existing facility, while creating 12 jobs and investing $96,419 in this project.
- Randolph County: A $100,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Denton that is occupied by Mid-State Trailers. The company, which manufactures a broad range of gooseneck, equipment hauling, deckover and utility trailers, plans to add 26,000 square feet to the existing facility. This project is expected to create 19 jobs, with a $427,829 investment by the company.
- Stanly County: A $120,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Norwood that is occupied by New Finish Inc., a sandblasting and power coating company that finishes metal surfaces for the automotive industry. The company plans to add 30,000 square feet to the existing facility. The project is set to create 15 jobs, with an investment of $3,464,225 by the company.
Rural Health Category
- Yancey County: A $100,000 grant will support the reuse of a vacant, 59,700-square-foot building located in Micaville. Mountain Community Health Partnership, Inc., which provides primary care, pregnancy care and behavioral health, will establish a facility at this location. The project is expected to create eight jobs, with an investment of $1,236,470 by the partnership.
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 two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account program:
- Halifax County: A $154,648 grant will support the relocation of a sewer line in the property occupied by Roseburg Forest Products in Weldon. This site and adjoining properties will provide a total manufacturing footprint of more than 185 acres. The company will create 137 jobs and invest $230 million with this project.
- Yancey County: A $600,000 grant will support a roadway extension for the West Burnsville Industrial Park. The County has acquired a 47.6-acre parcel of land as the site of this industrial park and has committed additional funding for the necessary infrastructure improvements, which will attract future investment and jobs.
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 the Rural division webpage.