Rural Transformation Grants Awarded to Boost Local Economies | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced today that 42 local governments in rural areas across the state have been awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, supporting rural economic development projects in North Carolina. A total of $19.76 million will be issued in this second round of grantmaking from the Fund, which helps local governments overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden last year. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division administers the fund.

    "More support for North Carolina's rural communities is on the way with these transformative grants, made possible by President Biden's American Rescue Plan," said Governor Roy Cooper. "These funds, backed up by the expertise 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.

    The Rural Transformation Grant Fund awarded grants in four categories today:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 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.

    "Extensive preparation and planning are the key ingredients for economic development success," said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. "I'm pleased to see this second round of grants go out to help our rural communities reach the next level of growth."

    Local governments awarded project grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund include:

    Downtown Revitalization Category

  • Bertie County $200,000
  • City of Conover $640,000
  • City of Elizabeth City $641,000
  • City of Laurinburg $650,000
  • City of Lenoir $580,000
  • City of Rocky Mount $800,000
  • City of Shelby $750,000
  • Town of Bryson City $600,000
  • Town of Carthage $350,000
  • Town of China Grove $680,000
  • Town of Elkin $800,000
  • Town of Hertford $725,000
  • Town of Marshville $200,000
  • Town of Maysville $850,000
  • Town of Murphy $665,000
  • Town of Nashville $675,000
  • Town of Plymouth $725,000
  • Town of Richlands $330,000
  • Town of Roseboro $825,000
  • Town of Spindale $395,000
  • Town of Spring Hope $800,000

    Resilient Neighborhoods Category

  • Town of East Spencer $580,000
  • Town of Rosman $450,000
  • Town of Saratoga $300,000
  • Town of Seven Springs $400,000
  • Town of Vass $650,000

    Community Enhancements Category

  • Cherokee County $550,000
  • City of Marion $450,000
  • Clay County $850,000
  • Franklin County $450,000
  • Hertford County $725,000
  • Town of Bladenboro $325,000
  • Town of Louisburg $450,000
  • Town of St. Pauls $150,000

    And for the Rural Community Capacity (RC2) category, the following jurisdictions have been awarded $49,999 each:

  • City of Archdale
  • Hertford County
  • Town of Garysburg
  • Town of Jonesville
  • Town of Liberty
  • Town of Mars Hill
  • Town of Maysville
  • Town of Pilot Mountain
  • Town of Rosman
  • Town of Spruce Pine
  • Town of Wilson's Mills

    "Following the best practices that we know work well, these economic development grants will bring new vitality to many rural communities," said Kenny Flowers, the Commerce Department's Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development. "I look forward to working with these communities as we work to transform the economy in rural North Carolina."

    Descriptions of the projects being awarded today are available at the Commerce website.

    A third window for grant applications is expected to open in the spring of 2023. More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund is available at

    Contact: Mary Scott Winstead

    Phone: (919) 814-2100  •      Email:
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