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North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority Grant to Help Protect Jobs from Flooding

LUMBERTON: Governor Roy Cooper today visited Rempac Foam Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Lumberton, where he announced a grant to help protect the business and its jobs from future floods and discussed ongoing efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Florence. During his tour, the governor met with company officials and employees and inspected the area where a state-supported project aims to make the facility more resilient.

Rempac’s facility flooded during Hurricane Florence in 2018 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, forcing the company to shut down the plant for long periods of time following both events. The Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA), an appointed board supported by professionals at the N.C. Department of Commerce, has awarded a grant of $700,000 to the City of Lumberton to build an approximately 4-foot-high earthen berm around Rempac’s 250,000-square-foot plant to prevent flood damage from future hurricanes. Commerce is working to secure additional funding for the project. The City will construct and maintain the berm on publicly-controlled easements.

The addition of the berm will support Rempac in retaining jobs and help position the company for future growth. The plant, which manufactures a variety of flexible foam plastic products, sustained significant damage from Florence. The company has had a presence in Robeson County for 30 years.

“Rebuilding stronger and smarter from natural disasters like Hurricane Florence means preventing damage from future storms, ensuring businesses continue to thrive and keeping North Carolinians employed in good jobs,” Gov. Cooper said. “This innovative economic development grant will help support Rempac, its employees and the Robeson County economy at a critical time.”

Along with the grant to protect the Rempac facility, the RIA also recently awarded the City of Lumberton $400,000 to help demolish and remove a former motel and restaurant flooded and severely damaged by hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Robeson Food, LLC will redevelop the site. The first phase will include the construction of three restaurants and a proposed second phase will feature construction of a new hotel.

The two RIA-approved grants are funded by federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Economic Development program funds available to local governments to help create and retain jobs.

“Helping people get back to business and back to work after a disaster is good for families, communities and our overall economy,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.

People out of work because of Hurricane Florence have also gotten help from N.C. Commerce’s Workforce and Employment Security divisions.

In Robeson and other hard-hit counties, 405 people have been hired to help with clean-up and recovery using $2.24 million in federal Disaster Employment Grant funds. Commerce’s workforce team, in partnership with local Workforce Development Boards, places people into jobs with government agencies and nonprofits. In addition, more than 6,000 people in Florence disaster counties have gotten $5.4 million in standard unemployment insurance through the Division of Employment Security, with 1,872 people receiving nearly $1.6 million in benefits from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

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