Rowan County commissioners approve $6.5 million in grants over 5 years

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SALISBURY — With hopes of bringing $311 million in investment and 736 new jobs to Rowan County, the Board of Commissioners approved $6.5 million in grants for three projects on Monday.

The grants, based on the size of the potential investment per project, are offered as a return on a percentage of property taxes due each year. For the three projects approved, returns range from 80 percent to 85 percent of taxes paid.

All told, the county will retain 17 percent of the taxes paid on these three properties, or $1.4 million over five years.

The first project was Project Arizona, the potential expansion of an advanced manufacturer in the county.

The parent company is considering its existing sites for a potential corporate restructuring. The sites include the one in Rowan and multiple facilities in Europe.

If Rowan is selected, the expansion could lead to 77 new jobs and $188 million in investment in an additional facility, new equipment and other improvements.

The second project, Project Care, also could lead to an expansion of an existing Rowan County manufacturer.

The company is considering Rowan and a location in the western United States as well as facilities in three foreign countries for an expansion that could bring 59 new jobs and $68 million in investment through improvements to an existing facility and major equipment upgrades.

In working to secure both expansions, the Rowan County Economic Development Commission will make a similar request for an incentives grant to the Salisbury City Council tonight.

“Landing these projects would be a huge benefit to the tax bases of both the city and county,” said Scott Shelton, vice president of operations for the Economic Development Commission. “The EDC feels that asking for grants from governmental entities improves our chances of winning these projects.”

Shelton said the two projects are in close proximity to one another and could each benefit from the development of a shared public road that would “create better truck flow and increase driver safety.”

He said the EDC is already talking with the North Carolina Department of Transportation about the road. If it is deemed necessary, he said, EDC will pursue grants from the state for the road’s construction.

If grant funds fall short, EDC could seek additional support from the city and the county.

Monday’s third and final grant approval went to Project Kodiak, a potential e-commerce distribution center to be developed at the southeast corner of the Interstate 85 and Long Ferry Road intersection.

The project, handled through NorthPoint Development, will be built to attract a particular user with whom the developer has a history.

NorthPoint has worked with industrial clients including Amazon, BNSF Railway, General Motors, UPS and Tradebot — though commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said the county “has never for one second thought this was Amazon.”

Commissioners tabled a request for an additional $100,000 incentive grant for equipment for the project. They will discuss the request during their Oct. 15 meeting.

In other business on Monday’s agenda:

• The Commissioners scheduled a public hearing to consider text amendments to the animal control ordinance.

The changes will update acceptable leash lengths to 6 feet in public areas such as sidewalks. In more open public spaces such as fields and parks, leash lengths of up to 16 feet will be acceptable. The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Rowan County Administration Building.

• The commissioners appointed four people to three local boards.

They included William Beilfuss and Wilson Cherry to the Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions board; Patrick Phifer to the Cleveland Community Volunteer Fire Department board; and Gregory Hannold to the Planning Board.

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