WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – New jobs and grant money are coming to many towns in the east.
Governor Pat McCrory has announced $5.1 million dollars is going towards towns for infrastructure funding.
When walking through downtown Williamston, you see many vacant buildings and not much traffic. Now, town leaders are working to change that.”
Once a bustling downtown, Williamston is now filled with many vacant storefronts. A new grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority will help change that.
Over $300,000 has been awarded to the town to support the reuse of three vacant buildings in the downtown area.
“We’re gonna be able to help three potential businesses get started,” explained Brent Kanipe, Interim Town Administrator, Williamston. “Get some renovations to their buildings and create new jobs.”
Kanipe said less vacant buildings and more businesses will help the town become revitalized.
One of the businesses using that grant is the Patriot House, which will take over one of the vacant buildings.
“It’s a coffee house and café,” said Samantha Komar, general manager, The Patriot House. “We’ll be open Monday through Friday. We will be doing pastries and everything will be made from scratch.”
Komar will be using the grant to renovate the vacant century-old building. She said less vacant buildings and more businesses will help revitalize the town.
Williamston recently became part of the Main Street Program, focused on restoring economic vitality to historic downtowns. This allowed the town to become eligible for these grants.
Since becoming a Main Street community, Williamston has seen growth.
“We’ve had over $650,000 in new investment downtown, and most of that was by local entrepreneurs,” said Kanipe, who added the grant will hopefully keep the town on the right track.
Other areas in the east are receiving grants from the North Carolina Infrastructure Authority. Craven County was awarded over $300,000 to assist with the Craven County Industrial Park.