Wayne County has been awarded a $1,785,000 state grant to help develop infrastructure at a proposed new industrial park.

The grant will go toward the $3,803,500 Goldsboro Industrial Campus project for road access and water and sewer to the 118-acre site on Patetown Road, just off of North William Street and about a half mile south of the U.S. 70 Bypass.

The project represents a partnership between the city of Goldsboro, Wayne County and the Wayne County Development Alliance.

Lenoir County will receive a $789,500 grant to extend sewer service at an industrial park serving a number of businesses. More than 51 acres will be directly served by the project, which should support future developments.

Wayne County has a five-year option effective August 2017 on the Patetown Road property owned by Bryan Holdings.

"The plan to develop the Goldsboro Industrial Campus is a great example of how the county of Wayne, the city of Goldsboro and our Impact Wayne investors are working together to position Wayne County for growth of our industrial base," said Tiffany Creech, Wayne County Development Alliance interim president.

"Whether it's attracting new industry or helping our existing industries grow and expand, having sites near our great transportation corridors is key to this effort."

Economic development requires partnerships, she said.

"We appreciate the leaders of our community working together with our private sector investors and with our utility allies to develop this new industrial park," Creech said. "Receiving this rural infrastructure grant also means the state believes in what we're doing here in Wayne County and wants to partner with us to help bring jobs and capital investment to our community.

"By working together, projects like this come together at a much faster rate."

The project includes installing 600 linear feet of a median-divided entrance road with a turn lane off Patetown Road and a sidewalk along each side of the entrance road.

The road will be paralleled with gas and electric service.

The grant includes $320,000 for water; $435,000 for sewer; $722,000 for industrial access; $83,000 for electric; and $225,000 for engineering.

The cost of developing the site will be split among the county, city and Development Alliance.

The remaining $2,018,500 of the project will be for land acquisition.

"As we sell the land to clients, proceeds from those sales will go back to offset any and all costs for the development," Creech said. "All costs will be shared -- all revenue will be shared."

The Wayne and Lenoir county grants are two of 10 grants totaling more than $14 million statewide being funded through the Rural ReadySites program.

The Rural ReadySites program, run out of the N.C. Department of Commerce in partnership with the Rural Infrastructure Authority, helps rural communities prepare prospective sites for industrial development.

The program will invest more than $14 million in public infrastructure construction and improvements for sites that have a strong potential to attract employers, create jobs and strengthen the local, regional and state economy.

The N.C. General Assembly appropriated $2 million for this purpose, and the Department of Commerce added the additional $12 million to fund these projects.

"Companies are looking for sites that have the infrastructure they need to get to work growing their business right away," said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. "Our rural communities often need additional funding to prepare sites for development, and this program is a step toward meeting that need."

The participating projects in the Rural ReadySites Program must meet the following criteria:

The applicant must be a government entity in a Tier 1 or 2 county. Wayne County is a Tier 2 county.

The N.C. Department of Commerce annually ranks the state's 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a Tier designation.

The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. The system is incorporated into various state programs to encourage economic activity in the less-prosperous areas of the state.

* The site must be publicly owned or controlled.

* The site must be a minimum of 50 contiguous acres.

* Funds must only be used to construct public infrastructure with priority given to water, sewer and industrial access improvements. Additional consideration will be given to sites located in counties with greatest economic distress.