Windsor in Bertie County has been awarded $839,450 from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a new source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina funded by the federal American Rescue Plan.
Officials announced Thursday the 30 local governments, most of which are west of the coastal counties, chosen to be awarded a total of $20.1 million.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division administers the $48 million grant fund. This is the first round of grantmaking from the fund created to help local governments overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness.
“North Carolina’s rural communities are our heart and soul, and we are committed to helping them grow and become more competitive,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement Thursday. “Today’s awards will provide both the funds and the expertise to help transform and expand North Carolina’s rural economies, create good jobs, and strong communities.”
The new grant fund addresses revitalizing downtown districts, building the capacity of local government staffs, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering small business recovery, and generally supporting economic growth initiatives.
The grants were awarded in three categories: downtown revitalization, resilient neighborhoods and Community Enhancements for Economic Growth.
The 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. Recipients include the following:
- Newton, Sanford, Old Fort, Lumberton and Spencer have been awarded $900,000 each.
- Tarboro and Greenville, $875,000 each.
- Valdese and Stokes Count, $850,000 each.
- Rockingham, $750,000.
- Alexander County, $650,000.
- Weldon, $369,778.
- Roxboro and Mount Olive, $175,000 each.
- Stantonsburg, $50,000.
The 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. Recipients include the following:
- Randolph County and Jonesville, $900,000 each.
- Pembroke, $850,000.
- Wallace, $825,000.
The 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. In addition to Windsor, recipients include the following:
- Hickory $900,000.
- Salisbury $875,000.
- Raeford $846,000.
- Butner $825,000.
- Mars Hill $750,000.
- Garysburg $355,680.
- Elizabethtown $332,500.
- Pilot Mountain $330,000.
- Warren County $300,000.
- Saluda $170,000.
A fourth category of the program, Rural Community Capacity Building, was announced May 24. A group of 19 communities across the state are to participate in an educational initiative to bolster the professional development and planning capacity of local government staffs.
The application window for the second round of funding will open in early September.