Last updated: August 28. 2014 11:30AM - 576 Views
By - abulluck@civitasmedia.com

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Ashe Medics has finally been awarded a Building Reuse Program grant in the amount of $50,000 from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA).

This comes after the county was originally denied the grant several months ago, due to what was described as an incomplete application.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Pat Mitchell announced on Aug. 21 that Ashe Medics and seven other organizations in the state were awarded grants or loans totaling $9 million with the commitment of creating more than 220 new jobs.

“We’re going to sprinkle a portion of the building,” Craig Sullivan, Ashe Medics owner, said.

Sullivan said the improvements will be related to fire safety to ensure the business’ new facility meets building code requirements.

RIA grants provide $10,000 for each job that will be created by a business moving into a formerly-used building for renovations to bring it up to code. Ashe County will have to provide matching funds of 5 percent (or $4,000) to the project.

The $50,000 will go towards supporting the reuse of the 13,000 sq. ft. building located at 716 Mount Jefferson Road in West Jefferson. The building was constructed in 1979 and sat vacant for three years after Blue Ridge Electric moved to its current location on N.C. 163. Sullivan purchased the building on March 6, 2014.

Ashe Medics was awarded a six year contract in November 2013 to provide countywide emergency ambulance services and routine emergency care for the county.

The Board of Commissioners approved the resolution for the grant to Ashe Medics at their April 7, 2014 meeting.

The Building Reuse Program provides grants/loans to local governments to support the reuse of vacant buildings and/or expand rural health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new, full-time jobs.

The company currently has 33 employees and has committed to creating five new, full-time jobs at the West Jefferson facility.

The RIA was established as part of the Rural Economic Development Division at the N.C. Department of Commerce to assist with the review and approval of grants for rural areas in the state. The grants-making programs of the new division include assistance for building reuse and restoration as well as infrastructure including water and sewer.

The RIA meets bimonthly to review and approve grants specifically targeted to assist with economic development and job creation in the rural areas of North Carolina.

Sullivan also remarked that since becoming the county’s ambulance service provider in July, things have been running smoothly for him and the staff.

“Things are going great,” Sullivan said. “It (transition) couldn’t have gone any better.”

Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.

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