From the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center Inc., shared Sept. 2:

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center has awarded 18 grants totaling $5.5 million to create new jobs, expand health services and provide clean water in rural counties. The grants will create 585 jobs and assist projects in 16 counties.The grants were approved by the center’s board of directors Aug. 31 and made possible by appropriations of the N.C. General Assembly.


The board awarded 13 grants worth $4.83 million for job-generating projects. They include the extension of water, sewer and transportation infrastructure, the renovation of vacant buildings for new or expanding business locations, and the renovation or construction of health-care facilities.

Economic infrastructure

  • Brunswick County: $1,530,000 to extend water and sewer lines to a new manufacturing facility, the site of which has yet to be selected. The project will create 153 jobs.
  • Harnett County: $200,000 to assist with the construction of public infrastructure for a new hospital. This grant is in addition to $800,000 the center previously awarded for the project. The latest grant will create 20 additional jobs.
  • Lee County: $500,000 to assist with access-road improvements in the Lee County Industrial Park. The project will allow a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment to expand its operations. The expansion will create 100 jobs.
  • Northampton County: $620,000 to extend water and sewer lines to a new facility that will produce wood pellets to be burned for energy. The facility will create 62 jobs.
  • Rutherford County: $500,000 for rail-spur improvements for a mineral-production facility. The project will create 100 jobs.

Building reuse

  • Town of Rutherford College: $132,000 to renovate a vacant building for use by a wholesale bakery. The project will create 11 jobs in the Burke County town.
  • Cleveland County: $780,000 to renovate a vacant building in Shelby for use by a manufacturer of wind generators. The project will create 65 jobs.
  • Columbus County: $48,000 to renovate a vacant building in Chadbourn for use by a shipping company. The project will create four jobs.
  • City of Reidsville: $23,363 to renovate a vacant building for use by a restaurant. The project will create five jobs in the Rockingham County town.
  • City of Monroe: $184,000 to renovate a vacant building for use by a drum-set manufacturer. The project will create 23 jobs in the Union County town.
  • Watauga County: $44,843 to renovate a vacant building in Boone for use by a business that will rent furniture and electronics. The project will create six jobs.

Rural Hope

  • Town of Bladenboro: $160,000 to support the reuse of a vacant building by an obstetrics and gynecology provider. The project will create 20 jobs in the Bladen County town.
  • Town of Newport: $128,000 to support the construction of a 10-bed hospice facility. The project will create 16 jobs in the Carteret County town.


This grant program funds water and sewer projects that address critical public or environmental health issues.

  • The Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority: $300,000 to install a liquid-chlorine system at its wastewater treatment plant. The Rural Center previously awarded $500,000 to help renovate and enlarge the plant, a $14 million project.  The water and sewer authority serves several high-poverty areas in Jackson County.
  • Maple Hill Water and Sewer District: $225,386 to add 17 homes to its sewer system. In 2006, the center awarded a grant of $2.77 million to build the system, which serves a high-poverty area in northeastern Pender County.
  • Town of Middlesex: $23,824 for the renovation of a well and the installation of new water meters in the Nash County town. The grant supplements a previous award of $245,833 for the project.


This grant program funds worthy projects that might otherwise be outside the timeline or geographic area of a specific grant program.

  • Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission: $50,000 to assist with the start of the nonprofit’s operations. Leaders from Davidson, Davie, Montgomery, Rowan, Randolph and Stanly counties established the commission to coordinate efforts to preserve and promote the region’s natural beauty.
  • Friends of Mountain History: $50,000 to support the nonprofit organization, which supports museums, historic sites and heritage organizations in 25 western counties. Among other endeavors, the organization will reprint the Western North Carolina Museum Guide.

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop sound economic strategies that improve the quality of life in rural North Carolina, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. The center operates a multifaceted program that includes conducting research into rural issues; testing promising rural development strategies; advocating for policy and program innovations; and building the productive capacity of rural leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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