China Grove seeks outside dollars through various grants

Published 12:10 am Friday, April 7, 2023

CHINA GROVE — In an effort to bring outside dollars into town revitalization efforts, officials in China Grove are exploring numerous grant possibilities.

During the regularly-scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday, the China Grove Town Council gave town administrators the go-ahead to apply for an NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.

Funding from the grant will go to redevelop China Grove Community Memorial Park.

“There was a public input process that included workshops about prioritization on what features people would like to see,” said Franklin Gover, the China Grove assistant town manager.

Gover explained that the design would feature new sidewalks, a multipurpose playfield and a seasonal water feature, among other facility improvements.

“It’s a dollar-for-dollar grant,” Gover said. “You can request up to $500,000, but we aren’t going to have to request that much.”

The estimated costs are $607,412, so the city would be on the hook for $303,706 if the grant is approved.

The original design concepts were commissioned from Benesch, an engineering firm from Charlotte that has done similar work with other parks in Rowan County.

The grant application will be submitted on May 1.

The PARTF grant is just one of many the city is attempting to obtain. On Thursday, representatives from various towns and organizations throughout the state visited China Grove as part of an RC2 Resource Team event.

The RC2 Resource Team Visit is part of an ongoing commitment to capacity building in rural communities. The RC2 program is part of the Rural Transformation Grant Fund.

Town Council Member Cheryl Sheets indicated that the event on Thursday was designed to connect China Grove businesses and the town with resources that could help land additional grant funding.

“These (visitors) are in the NC Commerce Department and the transportation department,” Sheets said. “(The event) is for them to see the people in China Grove, to make a connection and to let us know the resources that are available. We tell them our needs and find out where and how to go after them.”

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund provides local governments with grants and guidance to improve economic vitality and overcome the unique challenges many rural communities face.

Sheets pointed out that with rapid growth expected in China Grove in the next few years, redeveloping infrastructure and common spaces will be critical.

Sheets led a contingent of faces, including representatives from Appalachian State University and North Carolina State University, on a tour of several businesses in downtown China Grove.

They visited the Candy Shoppe on Main, The Grove Juice Cafe, The Old Town Soap Shop and the Grove Cartel & Meadows.