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

Commerce Department provides more resources for rural economic development

Press Release:

    RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced today that 29 local governments in rural areas across the state have been awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a robust source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina. A total of $8 million will be issued in this third round of grantmaking from the Fund, which helps local governments overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division administers the fund.

    "These transformative grants can make a real difference in rural communities by reviving downtowns and strengthening neighborhoods," said Governor Roy Cooper. "These funds, with the support 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.

    The Rural Transformation Grant Fund, established in March of last year, has now awarded its total available funds of $48 million. In that time, even greater community needs were identified, as local jurisdictions submitted for consideration projects totaling $165 million. In this third round of grantmaking, Commerce received project applications totaling $44 million, and therefore could not meet the entire demand, given the available funding.

    "The need in our rural communities is great, but I'm pleased we've been able to meet some of these needs with this transformative grant program," said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. "I'm proud of the program's strong track record of success, managed by Commerce's experienced rural development team and grounded in tried-and-true best practices that we know work well."

    Local governments awarded project grants in the third round of grantmaking from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund include:

    Downtown Revitalization Category

    City of Albemarle: $270,000

    City of Archdale: $180,000

    City of Burlington: $425,000

    City of Clinton: $350,000

    City of Morganton: $450,000

    City of Mount Airy: $475,000

    City of Whiteville: $400,000

    Town of Belhaven: $380,000

    Town of Boiling Spring: $195,000

    Town of Canton: $390,000

    Town of Jefferson: $270,000

    Town of Franklinton: $230,000

    Resilient Neighborhoods Category

    City of Reidsville: $250,000

    Town of Bethel: $200,000

    Town of Faison: $180,000

    Town of Hildebran: $300,000

    Town of Hudson: $250,000

    Town of Nags Head: $650,000

    Town of Star: $200,000

    Town of Williamston: $180,000

    Community Enhancements Category

    City of Hamlet: $400,000

    Town of Cameron: $400,000

    Town of Cramerton: $400,000

    Town of Elizabethtown: $150,000

    Town of Wagram: $70,000

    Rural Community Capacity (RC2) Category

    Town of Carthage: $49,999

    Town of China Grove: $49,999

    Town of Hildebran: $49,500

    Town of Marshville: $49,999

    Town of Vass: $49,999

    "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."

    A description of each of the awarded projects above is available at the Commerce website. More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund is available at

    Contact: Sam Chan

    Phone: (919) 814-2100  •      Email:
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