NC Fast Facts: Golden LEAF awards more than $14.2M

ROCKY MOUNT — The Golden LEAF Board of Directors has allocated more than $14.2 million in funding to support various economic development initiatives in North Carolina. The distribution includes support through the SITE Program, the Open Grants Program, the Economic Catalyst Project, the Flood Mitigation Program and the Food Distribution Assistance Program.

SITE Program: $4.4 million for industrial development


The SITE Program received just over $4.4 million to aid 10 projects across several counties: Caldwell, Cherokee, Chowan, Columbus, Gaston, Harnett, Nash, Northampton, Warren and Wilkes.

Golden LEAF’s SITE Program is structured into three phases: identification, due diligence and development. Six projects, totaling $266,100, will utilize funds for due diligence activities such as environmental assessments and mapping. Key projects include:

  • $50,000 to Caldwell County for the Foothills Regional Airport Industrial Park
  • $50,000 to Cherokee County for an Industrial Park on Highway 19/74
  • $42,500 to Warren County for the Highway 1 industrial park

For the Development phase, more than $4.1 million will fund infrastructure improvements and site preparation for four projects, including:

  • $1.5 million to Wilkes Economic Development Corporation for site preparation at the Wilkes Industrial Park, expected to attract 40 new jobs and $8 million in private investment
  • $1.5 million to Gastonia for sewer infrastructure to support the Apple Creek Corporate Park, which is projected to create 180 jobs and attract $200 million in private capital

Economic Catalyst Project: $400,000 for Ross Stores distribution center

A $400,000 grant was awarded to Randolph County to facilitate the construction of a new Ross Stores distribution center in Randleman. This follows a $1 million grant in 2022 that supported extending sewer lines to the site.

Open Grants Program: $680,000 for workforce preparedness

Two workforce development projects received a total of $680,000 through the Open Grants Program:

  • $200,000 to Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership (STEP) in Nash and Edgecombe counties to expand a local internship program linking students with work-based learning opportunities
  • $480,000 to Tri-County Community College for a new driving pad dedicated to CDL and heavy equipment operator training programs, aiming to increase student capacity significantly

Flood Mitigation Program: $7.7 million to protect communities

The Flood Mitigation Program, funded by a $25 million appropriation from the state, allocated more than $7.7 million to 10 projects. These initiatives will enhance flood resilience in Avery, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Guilford, Harnett and Wilson counties. Each project can receive up to $2 million, and funds are exclusively available to local government units.

Food Distribution Assistance Program: $1.08 million for food security

The Food Distribution Assistance Program awarded nearly $1.1 million in total funding. This includes a new project in Greene County and additional support for 23 existing projects across multiple counties. New support includes $141,500 to Bountiful Blessings House of Redemption in Greene County for purchasing vehicles and refrigeration equipment to enhance food distribution capabilities.