Fair Bluff receives $4.8 million EDA grant to establish small business center

Fair Bluff receives $4.8 million EDA grant to establish small business center
The town of Fair Bluff after massive flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in September 2018, the second devastating event to hit the community in less than two years. (Source: WECT)

FAIR BLUFF, N.C. (WECT) - The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $4.8 million grant to construct a small business center in a North Carolina Opportunity Zone.

“This small business center will provide existing and new businesses a space to operate and catalyze redevelopment of Fair Bluff following significant damage caused by Hurricane Florence in 2018,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

For the project, the Southeastern Economic Development Commission, which is funded by the EDA, collaborated with the public and private sectors to create an economic development road map to strengthen the regional economy and create jobs.

The EDA grant will be matched with $1.2 million in local investment and is expected to create or retain 60 jobs and spur $2.4 million in private investment.

“This small business center funding will mean businesses in and around Fair Bluff can get the help they need to build and grow jobs,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

Opportunity Zones are economically distressed communities where private investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives in accordance with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

When the EDA added Opportunity Zones as an investment priority in June 2019, the goal was to encourage long-term public investment in low-income neighborhoods.

Find more information on EDA-funded Opportunity Zones here

The EDA received $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael and Lane and other major natural disasters that occurred in 2018.

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