Three Harnett County organizations have been awarded a combined $1.5 million in grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation’s Community Based Grantsmaking Initiative (CBGI). The funds will assist the County as it continues developing one of its premiere economic development assets, enhance Harnett County Schools’ efforts to train students for careers in advanced manufacturing and health care, and expand health care throughout the region by providing additional mental health beds at Good Hope Hospital. The grants will also lead to the creation of approximately 50 new jobs in the county.
The three projects were submitted along with projects from 15 other counties in the state’s North Central Prosperity Zone, which competed for a share of $11 million in funding allocated for the zone by Golden LEAF through the CBGI.
Harnett County Economic Development was awarded $500,000 for its project, “Brightwater Technology Park Infrastructure Improvements.” This funding will allow Harnett County to design and construct additional road, water, sewer and drainage improvements at Brightwater Science & Technology Park in Lillington to serve undeveloped parcels and open the park up to future economic development opportunities.
Harnett County Schools was awarded $400,000 for its project, “Preparing Harnett County Students to be Tomorrow’s Workforce.” This funding will allow Harnett County Schools to renovate facilities and add equipment and classroom resources to expand its Advanced Manufacturing Academy and Health Sciences Academy, which are partnerships with Central Carolina Community College designed to meet future workforce needs in the area by training students for jobs in these industries.
Good Hope Hospital was awarded $600,000 for its project, “Behavioral Health Bed Expansion.” This funding will allow Good Hope to expand its current 16-bed inpatient mental health facility in Erwin to 32 beds over the next two years. The $600,000 will be added to the $3 million Good Hope received from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for the purposes of expansion.
“We are overjoyed to have been approved for the maximum amount provided by this initiative,” said Interim Harnett County Manager Paula Stewart. “We believe these projects will help Harnett County move forward in the priority areas of economic development, education and health care.”
Each county’s manager was tasked with selecting which projects to submit from their county. The Harnett County Manager’s Office received applications from eight organizations within the county and enlisted the Harnett County Economic Development Council to score the applications based on a grading rubric that adhered to the guidelines and priorities set forth by the Golden LEAF Foundation. The Council’s scores were then presented to the Harnett County Board of Commissioners for consideration prior to project submittal by the County Manager.
“We were fortunate to receive so many quality projects from our partner agencies around the county,” said Stewart. “Our goal was to make sure that the projects the County submitted had the best chance of receiving funding and it’s gratifying to know that the process worked as intended. We want to thank Golden LEAF staff for their assistance throughout this process and the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors for their consideration of our projects.”
The Golden LEAF Foundation CBGI is a focused process with grants targeted toward investments in the building blocks of economic growth. The Initiative is designed to identify those projects that are ready for implementation and have the potential to have a significant impact. At least 20 percent of the total project cost must come from other sources.