Rural NC communities get grant funding to address healthcare, infrastructure issues

Rural NC communities get grant funding to address healthcare, infrastructure issues

Photo: Alex Potemkin/Getty Images

By Dylan Rhoney

February 26, 2024

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) this month gave the greenlight to fund eight projects in communities across North Carolina, providing $1.5 million dollars to support a variety of projects and help create 270 jobs. 

“These funds make strategic investments in our rural communities to help them seize opportunities to prosper,” Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. “We are committed to improving the economy in all parts of our state.”

The RIA is supported by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Grants can be used to address a range of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, and site improvements. 

Among the beneficiaries of the public funding is the Town of Spencer in Rowan County, which is getting a $75,000 grant to support the expansion of Cabarrus Rowan Community Health Centers. The public funding will be accompanied by over $2 million dollars in private investment and is expected to help create 11 jobs. 

Spencer Town Manager Peter Franzese told Cardinal & Pine this project will greatly benefit not only the citizens of Spencer, but also the broader community.

“The project is a significant capital investment in the community, which is wonderful. What we’re particularly interested in is the improved services that the clinic will offer,” Franzese said. “We’re a small town of around 3,000 people, and our town, over the last few decades, has lost core services that we once had, like a pharmacy.” 

Franzese said this project will restore pharmacy services to the community.

“There’s not currently a pharmacy in town, and this project is actually going to allow the clinic to add pharmacy services that will be available to anyone in the community,” he said.

Another $500,000 grant will assist the city of Thomasville in Davidson County in connecting sewer capacity to the new steel manufacturing plant opened by Nucor last year. The company will create at least 180 jobs, and provide over $350 million dollars in investment through this plant.

In Boiling Springs, Hannah’s Coffee House, a Shelby-based small business, will have the opportunity to open a second location in a vacant building after $25,000 was secured via the town of Boiling Springs to make necessary repairs to the building.

Zachary Parker, the Town Manager of Boiling Springs, says this grant will allow the town to make needed repairs to the building, which dates to the late 1800s. These funds will be used to help bring the building up to code. In addition to the grant provided by the state, just over $37,000 in private investment will go towards this project.

Parker says an investment like this is important to the social fabric of the community.

“We have a long-standing commitment to small business in this community, and building what we think of as community based small businesses,” Parker said. “Those are the community organizations that, while it is a business, they understand the value of being in a small town.” The other five projects receiving funding are: 

  • The city of Lexington is receiving a $200,000 grant for the reuse of a 65,000 square foot building, which will be occupied by Millwork Brands, Inc. 
  • Infinity Link Communications will get $450,000 to open a new facility in Kinston. This project could result in 51 new jobs and spur over $46 million in private investment. 
  • Swain County is getting a $25,000 grant to help Wise Guyz Grille open a fourth location and create five new jobs.
  • The City of Burlington was awarded $100,000 to greenlight a 60,000 square foot expansion of the Matthews International Facility, potentially creating 14 new jobs.
  • In Stanly County, a $90,000 investment will allow the family-owned company, Flextol, to expand an existing 4,000 square foot building, and create 11 jobs.

The projects are also getting $365 million in private financing.


  • Dylan Rhoney

    Dylan Rhoney is an App State grad from Morganton who is passionate about travel, politics, history, and all things North Carolina. He lives in Raleigh.

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