Person Co. receives $500,000 grant after Rural Center funds unfr - WRBL

Person Co. receives $500,000 grant after Rural Center funds unfrozen

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ROXBORO, N.C. -

The governor recently released hundreds of thousands in grants funded by the rural center that had previously been frozen as a result of the audit there.

Among them was a $500,000 in funds awarded to Person County, a county where employment is spotty.

For Person County, grants from the Rural Center have been vital to helping create jobs, and officials hope the N.C. Department of Commerce will be able to fill the role the Rural Center once occupied.

When auto parts maker GKN Driveline announced an expansion a year or so ago that would add more than 100 jobs, local officials jumped on it.

"The last numbers I saw were somewhere around 138 jobs that materialized," said county manager Heidi York.

For those who worked there and for many who live in the county, that expansion at GKN was good news.

"It supports a wide area more than just Person County," said area resident Jay Tuck who also works at the plant and says he was glad when they heard they were expanding.

With an unemployment rate at nine percent, Person County officials jealously guard every new job.

"Any job is a good thing and in Person County jobs, jobs, jobs is what we're prioritizing right now," said York.

Before the grant money could be awarded, GKN Driveline had to prove the positions existed.

In February 2013, the company held a ribbon cutting for its addition, which included the new jobs, and was awaiting the grant money.

Without the Rural Center, Person County's manager says the GKN expansion not have happened.

"I'm not certain they would have been able to," said York. "$500,000 is a substantial amount for a project in Person County. I don't know if it would have come to fruition without the partnership of the Rural Center."

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