Governor Cooper Announces Program to Attract Jobs to Rural Industrial Sites $12 Million Rural ReadySites Program Available to Help Local Governments Prepare and Compete for Business

RALEIGH

Rural communities will soon have access to $12 million to get industrial sites ready to attract new jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

Through the Rural ReadySites Development Program, rural areas will be able to apply for funding to build or improve public infrastructure for sites that have strong potential to attract employers, create jobs and support the local, regional and state economy.  

“North Carolina’s rural communities have so much to offer businesses, but sites must be ready when employers are looking to bring new jobs,” Governor Cooper said. “We know our rural areas are great places to live and work, and this program will help them become more competitive at attracting good jobs.”

The program will be run out of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. It will launch this spring with applications due April 13.

“Companies look for industrial sites with the water, sewer, power and road access necessary to get their project off the ground quickly,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “I invite the leaders in our rural communities to apply for these funds so we can help them be competitive.”

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must have a well-developed strategy to market the site to appropriate private sector businesses. 

Other qualifications include: 

  • The applicant must be a government entity in a Tier 1 or 2 county. 
  • The site must be publicly owned or controlled. 
  • The site must be a minimum of 50 contiguous acres. 
  • Funds will only be used to construct public infrastructure, with priority given to water, sewer and industrial access improvements.
  • Additional consideration will be given to sites located in counties with the greatest economic distress. 

Interested local government applicants should contact Mark Poole at mpoole@nccommerce.com for application forms. Applications are due April 13, 2018. Selected projects will be announced this summer. 

Last week, Governor Cooper launched Hometown Strong, a new initiative to partner with local governments to support local economies, improve infrastructure, and strengthen rural communities. Hometown Strong will work with local leaders to stimulate economies and help businesses thrive in North Carolina’s rural communities by focusing on projects such as infrastructure improvements, broadband access, and workforce training. The Rural ReadySites Development Program is an example of the kinds of tools available to rural communities through Hometown Strong, its director said. 

“In Hometown Strong, we hear directly from rural communities and champion their priorities within state agencies to leverage existing resources and programs,” said Pryor Gibson, leader of the Hometown Strong initiative. “The Rural ReadySites is a perfect example of how state agencies are answering the call to action.”

 

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