U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $6.4 Million to Improve Water Treatment Infrastructure in Pembroke, North Carolina, Opportunity Zone
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $6.4 million grant to the town of Pembroke, North Carolina, to make critical wastewater infrastructure improvements needed to protect and support the community and its businesses. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with nearly $1.6 million in local funds, is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 400 jobs, and generate $2.5 million in private investment.
“Hurricane Florence severely impacted Pembroke and Robeson County in 2018,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will enhance flood resiliency and boost Pembroke’s capacity to meet current and future economic development and business needs in an Opportunity Zone, further enabling the local economy to transform and diversify.”
“The Trump Administration is committed to helping American communities impacted by natural disasters build the modern infrastructure necessary to attract new businesses,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will ensure Pembroke’s wastewater system can maintain a sufficient level of service at all times so the region’s economy can grow and become more resilient to future natural disasters, and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will encourage further development and attract additional investment.”
“In communities of all sizes across our state, aging water infrastructure systems are a concern,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These critical dollars will help Pembroke address age and storm damage so that its infrastructure is stronger and more resilient for the people and businesses in the area.”
“The Town of Pembroke experienced devastating flooding from Hurricane Florence that destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I am proud to have worked with local officials to secure this $6.4 million grant and want to thank President Trump and Secretary Ross for this investment that will make critical improvement to Pembroke’s water infrastructure to increase resiliency to future storms.”
“Flooding has devastated the Town of Pembroke, and investment in a new wastewater facility is critical to the area’s resilience and recovery,” said Congressman Dan Bishop (NC-09). “This community is ripe for economic investment, which is why I advocated for this grant that will bring 100 new jobs and unleash economic potential. I thank the Economic Development Administration and Secretary Wilbur Ross for supporting Pembroke’s bright future.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeastern Economic Development Commission, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private 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 webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) 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.