Camden celebrates $1.58M grant for commerce park work
By Chris Day
Saturday, November 10, 2018
CAMDEN — Camden officials have nearly 16 million new reasons to be excited about the county’s potential to lure new industries and spur job growth.
County officials announced Monday Camden has been awarded a $1.58 million state grant to be used toward infrastructure improvements at Camden Commerce Park in the northern end of the county.
Present during a Camden Board of Commissioners meeting Monday to officially announce the grant was Lee Padrick, chief economic development planner, Northeast Prosperity Zone, for the N.C. Department of Commerce.
“This is a great opportunity,” Padrick told commissioners. “We can’t wait to see your potential.”
Padrick was equally excited about the size of the grant, the likes of which he couldn’t recall ever being awarded to a community in northeastern North Carolina.
“I can’t remember a grant this significant given out to this part of the state,” he said.
Clayton Riggs, chairman of the Camden Board of Commissioners expressed excitement about the grant’s potential to help convince companies that Camden is the right place for their relocation.
“Our community has so much to offer the employers we have selectively targeted,” Riggs stated in a county news release. “Our staff presented a strong business case for the funding and pursued the grant aggressively.”
At the Commerce Park, the grant will be used toward making sewer and road enhancements, upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility that is located next to the park, and other related projects.
The grant was awarded by the state’s Rural Ready Sites Grant Fund, a program started by Gov. Roy Cooper last spring. The state set aside $12 million for the program and opened up eligibility to counties in rural areas, according the news release.
“We know our rural areas are great places to live and work, and this program will help them become more competitive at attracting good jobs,” Cooper said in the release.
Riggs thanked both the Department of Commerce for its assistance and Cooper for implementing the Rural Ready Sites Grant Fund.
Camden Manager Ken Bowman credited the county’s economic development director Charlie Bauman and Finance Officer Stephanie Humphries for their work, which began as early as April, in pursuing the grant.
The grant does require a 25 percent county match of $400,000.