Committee of 100 lands more Golden LEAF grants

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2007

By Staff
Carver Machine Works, new industrial park to benefit from funding
Contributing Editor
Better late than never.
Beaufort County’s Committee of 100 is receiving $1.54 million in economic-development grants from Golden LEAF.
The two grants will support more than 200 manufacturing jobs, according to a Golden LEAF press release issued Monday. LEAF stands for Long-Term Economic Advancement Foundation. Golden LEAF assists economically-distressed and tobacco-dependent communities across North Carolina.
In June, Golden LEAF awarded the Committee of 100 more than $1.5 million, bringing its total investment in the Beaufort County community to more than $3.1 million this year. The committee is a nonprofit organization that supports local economic-development initiatives.
Tom Thompson, executive director of the Beaufort County Economic Development Commission, said the additional grants will help the Committee of 100, which works closely with the EDC, in its efforts to expand existing industries in the county and bring new industries to the county. The commission and committee having ongoing projects that will result in $10.5 million being invested in the county, he said.
Thompson said Golden LEAF grants “help us be aggressive when it comes to helping existing industries to expand.”
By leasing buildings to new businesses or companies looking to expand, those firms don’t have to spend money to construct buildings, Thompson said. They would rather spend their money on equipment and other production-related expenses, he said.
With several economic-development projects in various stages of development, the latest grants are welcome, Thompson said.
“I couldn’t do it without this money,” Thompson said about those projects. “This allows us to provide what the banks would consider equity to the companies. … This Golden LEAF money allows us to borrow the rest of the money for the projects.”
Thompson said he believes the new grants reflects Golden LEAF’s realization that Beaufort County is one of the more economically distressed counties in the state.
Earlier this year, the committee sought about $3 million from Golden LEAF to go toward upgrades of Impressions Marketing Group’s Washington plant. The committee received $1.1 million for Impressions, an amount the committee said was not enough. A dispute between Golden LEAF and county economic-development officials developed over the formula used to determine how much Golden LEAF money the county would receive for its economic-development efforts.
The grants include:
The Carver Machine Works project has received other grants, including an $850,000 grant that will help the City of Washington extend a sewer line along River Road. That line will serve the business.
This project is being funded through Golden LEAF’s Economic Catalyst Grants, a program that supports eligible state, regional and local economic-development activities that lead to job creation and retention in tobacco-dependent or economically distressed areas.