The Courier Times: Person County Celebrates $1.6M Grant

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The North Carolina Department of Commerce on Friday announced a major grant that will benefit Person County’s 1,349-acre megasite.

A $1,604,125 grant will go toward extending water to the megasite, located north of Roxboro.

“That’s a big step in the right direction for helping us put that thing together,” said David Newell, chairman of the Economic Development Commission. “This is going to go a long way towards making that thing a real, live project. I am not sure this will cover all of the expense, but it will certainly get a head start on it. As far as I am concerned this is an early Christmas present. We’ve been trying to come up with some revenue sources for this thing for a long time.”

The grant is one of 10 awarded, totaling more than $14 million, through the Rural ReadySites program, Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced Friday.

County Manager Heidi York said the grant is expected to pay for the cost of the entire water line. It doesn’t include the cost of running wastewater to the site.

County and state officials hinted in January that Person County would be in a better position to win grants like this one with the creation of the megasite. The Rural ReadySites program, run out of the Department of Commerce in partnership with the Rural Infrastructure Authority, helps rural communities prepare prospective sites for industrial development. The program will invest more than $14 million in public infrastructure construction and improvements for sites that have a strong potential to attract employers, create jobs and strengthen the local, regional and state economy.

The North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $2 million for this purpose, and the Department of Commerce added the additional $12 million to fund these projects. “Companies are looking for sites that have the infrastructure they need to get to work growing their business right away,” Copeland said. “Our rural communities often need additional funding to prepare sites for development, and this program is a step toward meeting that need.”

The participating projects in the Rural Ready- Sites Program must meet the following criteria:

• The applicant must be a government entity in a Tier 1 or 2 county.

• The site must be publicly owned or controlled.

• The site must be a minimum of 50 contiguous acres.

• Funds must only be used to construct public infrastructure with priority given to water, sewer and industrial access improvements. Additional consideration will be given to sites located in counties with greatest economic distress.

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