Archive for March, 2019

03/13/19 – Local economic growth growing strong

Posted on: March 13th, 2019 by admin


March 13, 2019


By: Guy Lucas


The number of companies considering economic development projects in Caldwell County remains high even though there aren’t many vacant industrial buildings available, officials said Tuesday.


The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission is working on a total of 24 potential projects, and while they won’t all work out, that is a high number, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the EDC.


“Our pace is faster than in any year since I’ve been here,” she told the EDC’s board of directors.


In the past three years, the EDC worked with 15 companies on projects that created 617 documented jobs, she said.


By comparison, the 24 current projects – which range from ones that already have official approval and incentive offers to some that are in early stages of discussion – carry projections that they could create more than 1,800 jobs over three years if they all were developed.


The past years’ development has helped Caldwell County to have the fastest growth in the Hickory region in private-sector wages, she said, citing N.C. Department of Commerce figures.


From 2015 to 2019, the average private-sector wage in Caldwell County has increased by 21.7 percent, or growth of $6,948 to an average of $38,957 a year. That compares to Catawba County’s growth over the same period of 14.4 percent, or $5,322, and Burke County’s 8.6 percent, or $2,826.

03/06/19 – Furniture company plans 15 new jobs

Posted on: March 7th, 2019 by admin


March 6, 2019


By: Virginia Annable


A local furniture manufacturing company will be offered job-creation incentives by the county to expand and add 15 jobs over two years, but local officials did not identify the company.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved a jobs incentives grant of $2,000 per job created up to $30,000 for the 2-year-old company at Monday’s board meeting. Job incentives are paid only after a company can document that it has created jobs and kept them filled for a specified time.


The company is an example of how the furniture industry is still growing, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


“It’s a furniture project but also an opportunity for a second generation of a furniture family to participate and earn a living in that business,” Murray said.


The company plans a $400,000 expansion, which could include new machinery, equipment, real estate and building renovations. The company is in the process of buying an additional building, Murray said.


“It’s a company that has … outgrown its current place,” Murray said.


The company is also applying for a state building reuse grant. The job incentives would count as the county’s 5 percent match of local funds toward that grant.



03/03/19 – Blue Ridge Energy secures $2.8M for projects

Posted on: March 4th, 2019 by admin


March 3, 2019


Staff Reports

Hickory Daily Record


As part of the mission of electric cooperatives to assist rural communities with quality-of-life economic development issues, funds are awarded to selected entries by the government’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program.


Within the past year, Blue Ridge Energy was awarded $2.8 million for zero-interest loans to help support projects submitted and approved for the following: the City of Lenoir to build a new fire department for an underserved area; expansion of operations by Caldwell County employer Adhezion Biomedical, LLC; and Grace Chapel Fire Department for a water-pumper firetruck.


Over many years of the cooperative’s involvement with the REDLG program, awarded funds have supported many initiatives across Blue Ridge Energy’s service area. REDLG loans and grants have supported job creation or expansion; adequate and clean water projects for towns; medical equipment and healthcare facilities; and adequate firefighting equipment and facilities.


REDLG, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture, enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds and grants to qualified entities. It is an important tool in bolstering the economies of rural America, which are typically more challenged in attracting jobs and quality, affordable access to health care and other vital resources.


More details on this year’s REDLG loans awarded locally:

  • City of Lenoir: A $1.36 million loan for a new fire station No. 3 on Wilkesboro Boulevard. This will fill a critical need for fire and safety emergency response east of Smith’s Crossroads. In addition to homes and businesses, three schools are in the area.
  • Adhezion Biomedical, LLC: A $1 million loan to assist in the expansion of its Hudson facility, which manufactures surgical components for the medical industry. The expansion is projected to create 40 jobs paying above-average wages for positions ranging from equipment operators to research scientists. It is slated to occur over the next three years and includes property and building purchases as well as manufacturing equipment. Caldwell County EDC has also been working to secure state and local loan funds to accommodate job growth and new private investment in the Hudson facility.
  • Grace Chapel Fire Department: A $552,000 loan to assist in purchasing a water-pumper truck. This will be the first equipment of its kind for the department and will also carry extraction equipment for auto accidents, rope-rescue equipment, water-rescue equipment, and basic and advanced life-support-care medical equipment. It replaces a basic firetruck that is over 40 years old and has exceeded its useful life span.

“Supporting quality of life in the communities we serve is critical to our purpose as a local electric cooperative,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Energy. “The REDLG program is an important tool for helping rural communities across the nation compete for critical services such as safety, health care, education, and job development. We’re pleased we’re able to secure the latest funds for these critical projects.”


Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 76,000 members in north-west North Carolina. Its propane and fuels subsidiary also serves customers in the cooperative’s service area and beyond, including parts of Virginia and Catawba and Burke counties in North Carolina.


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