Governor McCrory Announces $3.74 Million Infrastructure Funding for Small and Midsize Communities

Raleigh, N.C.

Governor Pat McCrory announced today that the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved nine grant and loan requests totaling $3,737,749. The requests include commitments to create a total of 152 new jobs.
 
“Job creation begins with modern infrastructure,” said Governor McCrory. “By funding utility improvements, access roads and building upgrades, these grants will enable small and mid-sized communities across North Carolina to embrace exciting opportunities for economic prosperity.”
 
The RIA, under the leadership of Dr. Patricia Mitchell, reviews and approves funding requests for grant programs. The programs are operated by the Rural Economic Development Division at the N.C. Department of Commerce, which is led by Secretary John Skvarla. Grants support infrastructure development, building renovation and site improvements. Since its creation by Governor McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013, the Authority has approved more than $86 million in awards.
 
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Economic Infrastructure program:
 
City of Sanford (Lee County): A $103,615 grant to assist with the extension of a 1,900-linear-foot, 6” water line that will support a 20-job expansion by Comfort First Heating & Cooling, Inc. The company provides residential air conditioning and heating repair services. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $348,496.
 
The Economic Infrastructure Program provides grants to local governments in the 80 most economically distressed counties to assist with infrastructure projects that will lead to job-creation. Water and sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, natural gas lines, public broadband infrastructure, roadways and rail spurs are examples of infrastructure covered under program guidelines.
  
The RIA approved one request under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program. 
 
City of Wilson (Wilson County): A $1,377,759 grant to assist with the extension of wastewater service to Woodward Parkway Industrial Park. The extension will serve 670 acres of developable publicly-owned land at the intersection of U.S. Highway 264 Bypass and N.C. Highway 58. The property has the potential to draw $670 million in capital investment and could accommodate nearly 2,400 jobs. The Utility Account award complements an additional $1.5 million in funding from the Golden LEAF and local sources. 
 
The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to units of local government of the 80 most distressed counties in the state. Funds may be used for publicly-owned infrastructure and should be used for projects that are reasonably expected to result in the creation of new jobs. IDF – Utility Account funding is derived from portions of Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) awarded in Tier 2 and Tier 3 counties.   
 
The RIA approved two loans under the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program:
 
Davidson County: A $750,000 loan to support the reuse of a vacant building in Lexington by Elite Tube and Fab Company. The company, a subsidiary of Steele Tube, Inc., manufactures sheet metal parts used by NASCAR racing teams, as well as coils utilized by North Carolina furniture manufacturers. Elite Tube will create 38 new jobs at the location. The project includes roofing, electrical, plumbing and HVAC repairs to the building, which was constructed in the 1940s and has been vacant for the past year. The loan is part of a total capital investment of $4.25 million being made in the project. 
 
City of Brevard (Transylvania County) – a $500,000 loan to support the redevelopment of a vacant department store building on Brevard’s Main Street for use by D.D. Bullwinkel Company. The company operates retail stores specializing in outdoor apparel, hiking and camping accessories, and related equipment. The building was constructed in the 1940s as a Belk store. The loan supports repairs and renovation to roofing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection systems and accessibility features. The company’s $1.3 million capital investment in the building includes plans to restore the façade to its original appearance. The loan is a collaborative solution between CDBG and the Downtown Redevelopment Fund of the North Carolina Main Street program. The Redevelopment Fund supports efforts to correct code deficiencies in underutilized downtown commercial buildings.
 
The Community Development Block Grant program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program administered in part by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. CDBG’s economic development funds provide grants to local governments in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties 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 a total of five grants under the state’s Building Reuse program:
 
Existing Business Building Category
 
Caldwell County: A $411,375 grant to support the renovation of a building in Lenoir that will facilitate a 42-job expansion at Bakers Waste Equipment. The company manufactures compactors and containers for the waste and recycling industry. The project renovates and improves roofing, HVAC, electrical and lighting, and expands office space at the building, which was constructed in 1954. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $822,750.
 
Vacant Building Category
 
Martin County: A $150,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant building in Williamston by Metcore Industrial Solutions. The company, a manufacturer of high-precision sheet metal components and assemblies for use in agriculture and other industries, will create 12 jobs. Upgrades include HVAC and electrical systems and the addition of office space. The building was constructed in 1986 and has been vacant for nearly three years. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $881,000.
 
Pitt County: A $125,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant building in Greenville that will facilitate a 10-job expansion by Metallix Refining. The company is a processor and recycler of precious metals. The project creates lab space and upgrades office space and fire-protection systems. The building was constructed in 1988 and has been vacant for two years. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $950,000.
 
Randolph County
: A $220,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant building in Archdale that will facilitate a 22-job expansion by Ace Avant Concrete Construction. The company is a specialty subcontractor for concrete construction, site grading and utility works. The project includes the addition of a loading-dock pit and upgrades to flooring, ceilings, wiring and walls. The building was constructed in 2002 and has been vacant for one year. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $1,546,755.
 
Town of Columbia (Tyrrell County): A $100,000 grant to support the reuse of a vacant building by Stiletto Manufacturing. The company, a manufacturer of durable, lightweight recreational boats, will create at least eight jobs. The project includes renovation to office space and HVAC systems. The building was constructed in 2003 and has been vacant for seven years. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $1,126,497. 
 
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. 
 
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 NC Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division. Its 15 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 non-voting member of the Authority. 
 
“Keeping our infrastructure and industrial product aligned with the needs of today’s fast-changing economy is a task that requires ongoing effort and creativity,” said Commerce Secretary Skvarla. “With oversight from the Rural Infrastructure Authority, our team does exemplary work with local partners in crafting solutions to support job-creation strategies.”
 
Sec. Skvarla, Dr. Mitchell and other team members are now hosting across all regions of the state a briefing called NC Competes for Jobs. The presentation showcases job-creation programs and strategies for local business, governmental, educational and community leaders. The first event at Wilkes Community College on February 11th drew 105 participants.  The next stop is Wednesday, February 24th at Louisburg College.  For more information contact info@nccommerce.com.

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