Rural Transformation Grants awarded to 29 communities

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Gov. Roy Cooper has announced rural transformation grants for 29 local governments in across the state for rural economic development projects in North Carolina.

A total of $8 million will be issued in this third round of grants to help local governments improve economic competitiveness. The North Carolina Department of Commerce administers the fund.

“These transformative grants can make a real difference in rural communities by reviving downtowns and strengthening neighborhoods,” Cooper said. “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.

Grants were awarded in four categories:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 grant established last year, has now awarded its total available funds of $48 million, but communities submitted applications totaling $165 million – including $44 million in requests for this latest round.

“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:

  • 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

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