North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have been awarded more than $10 million in funding for local community projects from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program since the beginning of 2022.
“One of the seven cooperative principles is concern for the community,” said Cathy Page, vice president of member services at Pee Dee Electric. “We want our communities to thrive, so by utilizing the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant programs, we can be a part of this growth.”
The REDLG program provides rural utilities with grants and zero-interest loans to directly fund local projects that create and retain employment, boost economic growth and help improve overall quality of life in the communities they serve. These important community projects include investments in local emergency medical services, health clinics, hospitals, libraries, schools, volunteer fire departments and more.
“The REDLG program is another tool in our toolbox to support the economic growth and wellbeing of our members’ communities,” said Anna Walker, economic development specialist and REDLG program lead at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “As an already trusted partner in rural North Carolina, electric cooperatives are perfectly situated to support these communities as we continue to build a brighter future.”
Blue Ridge Energy
Blue Ridge Energy received grant funding to purchase a tanker truck for the Laurel Springs Fire Department, a tanker truck for the Cherry Lane Fire Department and a new fire truck for the Collettsville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. The grant funding will provide emergency access to water for rural areas without public water services.
Brunswick Electric used REDLG funds for the purchase of a new fire truck for the Town of Ocean Isle Beach and to renovate a County-owned building to create office space, a business center, and a business incubator.
Four County EMC
Four County EMC is awarding grant funds to Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial, Inc., for two new projects in the Elizabethtown Industrial Park. Grants funds will be used to build a new facility to house the Cape Fear Distillery, helping boost local tourism in the area. Other REDLG funds will go towards the construction of a new business incubator that will house Cape Fear Valley Health. Together, the new additions will create over 50 new jobs for the local community. Four County EMC also provided grant funds to Bladen County EMS and Pender County EMS and Fire and contributed to the purchase of new patrol cars for the Bladen County Police Department.
Halifax EMC assisted the Enfield Fire Department with the purchase of a new Class A Fire Engine, which will replace a 23-year old fire truck.
Jones-Onslow EMC used the grant money to help North Topsail Beach Fire Department purchase a new fire truck.
Pee Dee Electric
Pee Dee Electric provided grant funding to the towns of Pinebluff, Peachland and Wadesboro for the purchase of new fire trucks. Funds from Pee Dee Electric also helped Richmond County build two new shell buildings in the county’s industrial park.
Piedmont Electric Cooperative
Piedmont Electric is using their grant to support the Efland Volunteer Fire Department. An Efland VFD fire station in Orange County will undergo renovations to improve the space. The remodel and expansion of the station will increase bay space and provide access to living quarters, improving emergency response time.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are national leaders in utilizing REDLG funds. Twenty-three NC co-ops have utilized the program to allocate $83 million for local community projects across the state, supporting the creation of more than 6,000 jobs.
To learn about how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are building a brighter future through economic development in rural communities, contact your local electric cooperative or visit www.ncelectriccooperatives.com/economic-development/.