The Golden LEAF Foundation and the Rural Infrastructure Authority have announced details of their collaboration to provide funding to large industrial sites across North Carolina to reduce the time needed for development and increase their competitiveness for major projects with substantial job creation and private capital investment.
The Golden LEAF Board of Directors voted in April to reserve up to $25 million over the next three years to support public infrastructure needs for the Major Site Development Initiative (MSDI) in rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed areas, a news release reports.
Golden LEAF’s efforts complement earlier commitments. In February 2016, the Rural Infrastructure Authority voted to reserve $10 million from the Utility Fund for eligible expenses related to the MSDI. In addition, Duke Energy will contribute support toward the analysis of readiness of sites to qualify for this program. Other funders may join the initiative.
“The Major Site Development Initiative provides the collaboration and focus to move the economic needle,” said Golden LEAF president Dan Gerlach. “We are providing substantial resources to reduce the preparation time and increase the competitiveness of sites across North Carolina.”
“Creating assets that prep industrial properties for job creation calls for a team approach,” said John E. Skvarla, III, North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary. “When paired with other resources, the Utility Fund (financed by Job Development Investment grants) can help construct the modern infrastructure the state needs to compete effectively for projects with economic significance.”
In order to be considered for funding, applicants must have public ownership or public control of a site that is at least 150 contiguous acres. Competitive applications will demonstrate appropriate local financial support, show recent private sector interest in developing an industrial project at the site, and have a strategy to market the site to identified clients. Each project should result in a site that is ready for development as a result of the improvements. An independent evaluation of the site’s readiness and qualifications will be provided.
“Today’s economic development projects demand low schedule and site risk,” said John Geib, director of economic development for Duke Energy. “Duke Energy is delighted to support this collaborative effort to increase the level of preparedness and confidence of industrial clients in sites across North Carolina.”
Golden LEAF and the Rural Infrastructure Authority will confer on applications; however, the individual governing boards will retain the authority to award grants. More details on the timing of grant applications will be forthcoming.
About Golden LEAF:
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The Foundation receives a portion of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,360 grants worth more $597 million since its inception.