North Carolina state line

A welcome sign at the North Carolina state line.

Some of North Carolina’s rural communities have been pegged for an economic overhaul, but the state had to first give to get. 

North Carolina’s Rural Infrastructure Authority has issued 24 state infrastructure grants totaling $7.7 million to local governments. 

Officials say the grants will help create more than 1,300 jobs and attract more than $294 million in investments to the state.

“Many rural communities across North Carolina are experiencing economic growth because their infrastructure has prepared them for opportunity,” North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said in a statement. “That’s why it is so important that we continue to make strategic investments like these Rural Infrastructure Authority grants, which will support good jobs and make rural areas more competitive.”

The infrastructure grants can be used for construction, renovation, expansion and demolition and site improvements. The Rural Infrastructure Authority is an appointed board that oversees the allocation of various economic grants provided by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. 

Many of the grants, announced late last week, will go to renovate old and vacant buildings for new business.

The largest grants issued for vacant building rehabilitation were in Lenoir, Rocky Mount, Eden and Wayne and Wilson counties for $500,000 each.

Eden is slated to get the greatest return on its investment. The grant would be used to reconstruct a 181,000-square-foot building for Gildan Yarns’ new yarn-spinning mill. The project is expected to create 85 new jobs with a private investment of $4.7 million.

Three communities received $500,000 to revamp currently occupied buildings.

The largest investment from a company will be Orange County. The grant will help with the expansion of a building that is occupied by robotics company ABB Inc. 

The company plans to extend the building by 200,000 square feet. A total of more than 400 jobs and $39.9 million will be invested in the project.

Granville and Halifax counties will also receive $500,000 grants to secure more than 160 jobs and $5 million in investments in total.

“The projects approved for grants today will help rural North Carolina attract jobs, support business expansion and prepare sites for future development,” Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers said. 

The RIA also approved a federally-funded Community Development Block Grant Economic Development program for Sanford, North Carolina. 

The $1.2 million grant will support public infrastructure improvements to the site where Bharat Forge Aluminum USA Inc will open a new facility. The facility is projected to create 460 jobs and an investment of $170 million. 

The owners of some of the companies who will benefit from the infrastructure grants will also benefit from tax incentives for launching sites in North Carolina. Those companies include Bharat Forge Aluminum USA Inc, ABB Inc and Gildan Yarns, The Center Square has reported.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.