North Carolina Rural Communities Getting Over $2 Million for Water Infrastructure Upgrades

(UC) — The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved grant requests to local governments in excess of $2.5 million to improve and update water and sewer infrastructure. 

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the RIA’s work. RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities.

Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers.

The RIA approved five requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:

Elizabethtown (Bladen County): A $248,960 grant will assist the Town with the extension of water and sewer infrastructure to a section of the Elizabethtown Airport Industrial Park that contains three industrial incubator facilities.

Craven County: A $352,500 grant will assist the County in the extension of water and sewer infrastructure to the county's 60-acre industrial park. The addition of this infrastructure is expected to enhance the County's ability to successfully recruit companies to locate on-site.

Cumberland County: A $1,946,511 grant will support the County in providing sewer infrastructure to a site along Interstate 95 that serves as a critical piece of the County’s economic development strategy. The infrastructure would immediately serve 100 acres and represents a joint venture with the private sector that could support up to 1.1 million square feet of new industrial space.

The total amount of investment comes to $2,547, 971.

“Rural North Carolina needs investments in water and sewer systems…,” said Governor Cooper. “These grants will help improve the quality of life…of rural North Carolinians.”

The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, which are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Funds may be used for publicly owned infrastructure projects that are reasonably expected to result in new job creation. The IDF – Utility Account is funded through a process tied to the state’s signature Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program.

When JDIG-awarded companies choose to locate or expand in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.

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