FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 11, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4.5 million grant to the Greenville Utilities Commission, Greenville, North Carolina, to make wastewater system infrastructure improvements needed to support the growth of the region’s healthcare sector and other businesses. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with nearly $3 million in local funds, is expected to create 46 jobs, retain 700 jobs, and generate $329 million in private investment.
“The Trump Administration is committed to helping American communities obtain the modern infrastructure they need to encourage business attraction and growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will provide Greenville with the necessary wastewater infrastructure to support growth in the region’s critical healthcare sector and other businesses. The project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will attract additional investment and further transform the area.”
“High winds, power outages, heavy rains, and flooding as a result of Hurricane Florence severely impacted Pitt County in 2018,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will advance local resiliency efforts by constructing two secondary wastewater treatment plant clarifiers that will support the region’s healthcare and other businesses. The project’s Opportunity Zone designation will further transform and diversify the local economy.”
“In communities of all sizes across our state, leaders are working hard to find funds to improve aging water treatment systems,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These critical dollars will help Greenville strengthen its infrastructure so the city can continue to support job growth and business expansion.”
“This grant is a big win for Greenville and surrounding counties,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “Wastewater infrastructure improvement is critical for health care and economic growth, creating new jobs and opportunity for future generations. I want to thank Secretary Ross and the administration for their continued investment in our great state of North Carolina.”
This investment was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Mid-East Commission, which EDA funds to bring together private and public sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
The funding announced today goes to one of North Carolina’s 252 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources page here. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report to President Trump.
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.