Thursday, June 15, 2023

Third Round of Rural Transformation Grants Awarded to Boost Local Economies Commerce Department provides more resources for rural economic development

Raleigh, N.C.
Jun 15, 2023

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that 29 local governments in rural areas across the state have been awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a robust source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina. A total of $8 million will be issued in this third round of grantmaking from the Fund, which helps local governments overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division administers the fund.

“These transformative grants can make a real difference in rural communities by reviving downtowns and strengthening neighborhoods,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These funds, with the support of our rural development team at the Department of Commerce, will bring more economic opportunity to people across the state.” 

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund, the centerpiece of a broader Rural Engagement and Investment Program from Commerce, addresses a wide variety of needs, from revitalizing downtown districts, building the capacity of local government staffs, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering small business recovery, and generally supporting economic growth initiatives. 

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund awarded grants in four categories today:

  • The Downtown Revitalization category supports downtown development initiatives that help grow and leverage a community’s commercial core into an asset for economic growth and prosperity.
  • The Resilient Neighborhoods category offers grants focused on community development and quality of life improvements, such as eliminating food deserts, creating healthy living initiatives, and increasing access to affordable housing options, among other initiatives.
  • The Community Enhancements for Economic Growth category provides grants to local governments to smooth the way for economic development opportunities, such as the acquisition of land and buildings, the preparation of business sites, and the removal of structural and physical barriers that may be limiting development.
  • The Rural Community Capacity Building (RC2) category provides educational and professional development opportunities for local government staffs, with the additional ability for local governments to then ‘apply what they’ve learned’ by developing funding proposals for projects in their local areas.

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund, established in March of last year, has now awarded its total available funds of $48 million. In that time, even greater community needs were identified, as local jurisdictions submitted for consideration projects totaling $165 million. In this third round of grantmaking, Commerce received project applications totaling $44 million, and therefore could not meet the entire demand, given the available funding.

“The need in our rural communities is great, but I’m pleased we’ve been able to meet some of these needs with this transformative grant program,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “I’m proud of the program’s strong track record of success, managed by Commerce’s experienced rural development team and grounded in tried-and-true best practices that we know work well.”

Local governments awarded project grants in the third round of grantmaking from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund include:

Downtown Revitalization Category

  • City of Albemarle: $270,000
  • City of Archdale: $180,000
  • City of Burlington: $425,000
  • City of Clinton: $350,000
  • City of Morganton: $450,000
  • City of Mount Airy: $475,000
  • City of Whiteville: $400,000
  • Town of Belhaven: $380,000
  • Town of Boiling Spring: $195,000
  • Town of Canton: $390,000
  • Town of Jefferson: $270,000
  • Town of Franklinton: $230,000

Resilient Neighborhoods Category

  • City of Reidsville: $250,000
  • Town of Bethel: $200,000
  • Town of Faison: $180,000
  • Town of Hudson: $250,000
  • Town of Nags Head: $650,000
  • Town of Star: $200,000
  • Town of Williamston: $180,000

Community Enhancements Category

  • City of Hamlet: $400,000
  • Town of Cameron: $400,000
  • Town of Cramerton: $400,000
  • Town of Elizabethtown: $150,000
  • Town of Wagram: $70,000

Rural Community Capacity (RC2) Category

  • Town of Carthage: $49,999
  • Town of China Grove: $49,999
  • Town of Hildebran: $49,500
  • Town of Marshville: $49,999
  • Town of Vass: $49,999

“These economic development grants will bring new vitality to many rural communities,” said Kenny Flowers, the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development. “I look forward to working with these communities as we work to transform the economy in rural North Carolina.” 

A description of each of the awarded projects above is available at the Commerce website. More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund is available at

Related Content:

Related Topics: