Economic grants fall short

Published 6:02 am Saturday, June 9, 2007

By Staff
Committee gets $1.5 million from Golden Leaf
The Beaufort County Committee of 100 will receive $1.5 million in grants, but that falls far short of what is needed to fund two economic development projects.
The Golden LEAF Foundation approved more than $5 million in grants this week for efforts ranging from a wastewater study to medical training and research. The Rocky Mount-based foundation helps tobacco-dependent counties build new economies with money from a tobacco industry settlement.
The Committee of 100 was asking for millions to buy and renovate the Impressions plant, a 387,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It also sought money to help Carver Machine Works expand on River Road.
Thompson had asked for $3 million for the Impressions project and got $1.1 million. He sought $1.5 million for the Carver Machine project and was awarded $460,000.
The Impressions project would protect 162 jobs and help create another 120. The Carver Machine Works expansion would allow for a 50,000 square foot building and create 50 new jobs over the next three years. Both projects were awarded smaller grants from Gov. Mike Easley this year. The Impressions grant totaled $240,000.
Valeria Lee, the president of the Golden Leaf Foundation, could not be reached for comment Friday.
While Beaufort’s share wasn’t what was requested it was the largest given to any one county.
The foundation provided $1.2 million to help Scotland County acquire a building to serve as a satellite campus for Richmond Community College for training nurses,
East Carolina University will receive $1 million to establish a Metabolic Institute for research and treatment of diabetes and obesity, according to the Associated Press.
Gates County, which has no wastewater collection and treatment facilities, will receive $60,000 for a wastewater feasibility study, and Robeson County will receive almost $505,000 to convert a vacant building in Fairmont into a recreational and education facility.
A $300,000 grant will help Anson County upgrade a 10,000-foot sewer line to accommodate increased production planned by a textile manufacturer.
Since 2000, Golden LEAF has awarded about 570 grants that total $210 million to fund projects that include increasing tourism in rural communities to funding new educational programs, the Associated Press reported.