The Richmond County Board of Commissioners agreed this week to pursue a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant to assist Knit-Rite, Inc. with expansion plans.
Knit-Rite, Inc. recently announced plans to expand in Hamlet. The proposed site is a vacant building that needs improvements. Knit-Rite, Inc. will manufacture medical hosiery products under their Therafirm division at the new Hamlet location. The building renovations and system upgrades funded by the grant will include roof repair, HVAC upgrades, painting, electrical, lighting, plumbing, sprinkler upgrades and new interior office construction. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $2 million.
County Commissioners approved the grant application at their meeting Monday.
Chairman of the Board Kenneth Robinette addressed Knit-Rite, Inc. Executive Vice President and COO Chris Verig during the meeting.
“We appreciate your investment in Richmond County and look forward to your expansion,” said Robinette, who praised the company for creating 38 new jobs.
The board also agreed to maintain the designation of U.S. Highway 1 and Bypass as a strategic highway corridor.
Recently, Moore County and others have issued statements of support to demote U.S. Highway 1 from its strategic highway corridor status. The demotion would have an impact on funding for improvements and upgrades of future projects. In alignments with the Cities of Rockingham and Hamlet, the Richmond County Board of Commissioners has agreed to resolve that they oppose “any change to the designation of any portion of U.S. Highway 1, or the proposed U.S. Highway 1 Bypass in Richmond County that will diminish priority status and negatively impact funding for the construction and improvements related to these facilities as a strategic highway corridor.”
Recently, U.S. Highway 1 was expanded from two lanes to four lanes between the county line by Pinebluff and Marston, just north of the Rockingham Speedway. Plans for additional upgrades include a new four-lane bypass on a new location between Rockingham and Hamlet, opening additional areas for growth.
In other action Monday, the board:
• Heard an update from Planning and Zoning Director of GIS James Armstrong about six condemned properties in East Rockingham; four of which have been brought up to code while two require additional action. Those properties are located at the intersection of Biltmore Avenue and Mill Road.
• Received an update from County Manager Rick Sago about economic development. He said the Knit-Rite, Inc. expansion will cost the company about $4.5 million. Sago said the past month has been a big one in Richmond County, with the return of NASCAR and Carolina Rebellion, both events bringing more than 65,000 people to Richmond County over the course of two weekends.
• Approved a formal budget request and a program update for the Sandhills Center Area, presented by CEO Victoria Whitt. Whitt said for eight years in a row the Sandhills Center Area has asked for the same amount of money, $137,000. Whitt said, “That funding stays right here in the county.”
• Appointed Michelle Weatherly to the Sandhills Center Area Board.
• Approved a request to refinance the 2008 Judicial Center loan. According to Sago, this will save the county $2 million.
• Proclaimed to recognize May 15 as “Peace Officer Memorial Day” and the week of May 13-19 as “National Police Week.”
• Approved program agreements for Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Funding for Fiscal Year 2012-2013.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.