Brown elected chair of rural infrastructure authority

ALBEMARLE  — A prominent local Democrat was recently elected chairman of an important state grant-making commission.  

Charles Brown, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, was elected chairman of the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority at its August meeting. In a release, Cooper’s office announced the approval of 18 rural grants totaling $4.85 million along with the election of Brown.  

Brown, an Albemarle attorney, was also named to the Stanly County Economic Development Commission at the August 10 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.  

Beyond grant-making, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority sets policies and priorities for grant and loan programs administered by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. Its 17 voting members are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem. The North Carolina Secretary of Commerce serves as a member of the Authority, ex officio. 

One of the 15 grants approved in August by the authority was a $250,000 grant to the town of Norwood. The funds will support the reuse of an 8,000-square-foot building that will become home to CYES Factory, an east coast location for the Jalisco Tortilla Factory. The company plans to produce non-GMO and organic tortillas at this location. Renovations supported by the grant will impact the roof, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and flooring. The project is expected to create 12 jobs and attract private investment in the amount of $400,000.  

“These new grants will help rural counties, cities and towns facilitate business expansion, job creation and future economic growth,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said. “The Rural Economic Development Division at Commerce and the Rural Infrastructure Authority are proud to continue working with local leaders to make strategic investments in their resilient communities.”