Friday, 05 June 2020 11:59

Golden LEAF Foundation awards Richmond County $1.5 million for wastewater line extension to new industrial park

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County Economic Development is proud to announce the award of $1.5 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation toward the extension of a wastewater line. This grant, combined with a recent $1 million grant from NC Commerce Industrial Development Fund — will fund the entire project, meaning no funding will need to come from county taxpayers.

“Golden LEAF is dedicated to the long-term economic advancement of North Carolina,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF president, chief executive officer. “We are excited to be a partner on this project which will help recruit industry and bring quality jobs to Richmond County.”

Established in 1999, the Golden LEAF Foundation is a non-profit devoted to advancing the economic well-being of North Carolinians and to transforming the state’s economy. The Foundation uses the funds for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina's long-term economy, especially in communities that have been tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors approved the project through the Community-Based Grants Initiative in the Sandhills Prosperity Zone. This project will fund nearly half of a wastewater extension line to a newly created 700-acre industrial park, which is scheduled to open later in 2020.

“This project will target one of the basic building blocks of economic growth — infrastructure and economic development,” stated Board Chairman Kenneth Robinette, “The industrial park has all major utilities along with a close proximity to rail. The extension of wastewater to this park will be the final utility which is needed to be a fully functional and marketable industrial park.

“The 700-acre industrial park will position Richmond County to grow our industrial base — giving us the ability to recruit or expand operations, adding more job opportunities for the Sandhills region,” Robinette continued. “Fostering economic growth in the community is the only way this community will survive in the years to come. We are thrilled that the Golden LEAF Foundation selected Richmond County to receive this grant.”

Within the coming months Richmond County will begin a heavy marketing campaign for the new industrial park. This park will have a unique location, positioned adjacent to a large power generation facility. There are very few sites in the state of North Carolina with the extensive amount of power and natural gas capacity found at this location.

The park has already completed the Duke Energy Site Readiness Certification Process and all Phase 1 Environmental work has been completed. The county will also partner with Duke Energy and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina in marketing this site to industries with heavy power requirements, due in part to the amount of energy that is readily available.