County gets $400K grant for Telephonics expansion
By Chris Day
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
A $400,000 grant awarded to Pasquotank County could help a local company that specializes in radar and aircraft communications expand its operations in Elizabeth City.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced in a news release Monday that the N.C. Department of Commerce has awarded $400,000 in Rural Infrastructure Authority funds to Pasquotank County. The funds will be used toward upgrading an existing but vacant 25,000-square-foot building that will be occupied by Telephonics Corp., which is located at the Elizabeth City aviation park, the release states.
Telephonics’ use of the building will lead to the creation of at least 50 new jobs and represents new investment of $1.63 million, the release states.
Telephonics is based in Farmingdale, New York, but operates its aircraft integration services branch at its Elizabeth City facility off Consolidated Road.
The $400,000 awarded to Pasquotank was part of a total of $10.7 million in RIA funds awarded in response to 21 grant requests from local governments across the state. Pasquotank’s share of the funding was among 16 of the 21 grants approved for the RIA’s Building Reuse Program.
“With the projects approved today, rural North Carolina can attract hundreds of new jobs, support business expansion and build healthier communities,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said in the release. “The Rural Economic Development Division at Commerce and the Rural Infrastructure Authority are pleased to be able to partner with local leaders to help our rural areas succeed.”
The news release does not state where the vacant building is located.
Earlier this month the Pasquotank commissioners agreed to seek $650,000 in state incentives to help attract a $3.5 million investment from a company known publicly by the alias, “Project Elizabeth.” Commissioners voted unanimously to support applications to the Department of Commerce for a “discretionary incentive” and a Building Reuse grant for Project Elizabeth.
The applications require $102,500 in matching dollars from the county.
When contacted Monday for comment, Christian Lockamy, director of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Commission, offered only the following statement.
“Project Elizabeth understands the potential funding from the state,” he said. “The company will take some time to make an informed decision.”
The county will make an announcement once a decision has been made, Lockamy added.
“We will not comment further until that occurs,” he said.
Telephonics also was brief when contacted Monday.
“Telephonics is always investigating ways to better serve customer needs,” a spokeswoman said. “Several plans are under investigation. We have no further comment at this time.”
The governor’s news release also said that the 21 grant requests promise to create more than 1,300 jobs, of which 515 already have been announced. Combined, the projects will draw more than $123 million in commercial investment to the state, according to the release.
“By making strategic investments in rural infrastructure, North Carolina is better positioned for economic growth,” Cooper said. “Rural Infrastructure Authority grants are the seed to grow good jobs and improve all areas of our state’s economy.”
Staff Writer Jon Hawley contributed to this report.