The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center recently awarded a Research and Development Program grant in the amount of $185,000 to CPNI. The grant will allow CPNI together with the Development Finance Initiative [DFI] at the UNC School of Government to work with NC STEP towns and communities as they attempt to address their underutilized or abandoned legacy buildings across rural North Carolina.
Bill Ray Hall, president of the NC Rural Center announced that ” the grant program offers a unique opportunity for organizations to work with the Rural Center to test innovative ideas and strategies for rural economic development. CPNI submitted a grant proposal “Assessment of Municipal Built Assets and Community Development Revitalization Strategies” to the Rural Center in conjunction with the Development Finance Initiative [DFI] at the UNC School of Government.
Under the eighteen month grant, CPNI will work with between 8 – 10 towns and communities which have been selected to participate in the Rural Center’s NC STEP program. The N.C. Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program, or NC STEP, was launched in spring 2006, to assist individual small towns reinvigorate their economies through coaching, training, strategic planning and grants. CPNI, through its Revitalization Initiative or RE:NC Program, will assist the towns by evaluating the community built environment and infrastructure.
Reflecting on the grant, Michael Schiftan, CPNI chair, indicated that “our role is to work with local communities to facilitate redevelopment strategy, community engagement, vision and financing.” CPNI has already proven or underway engagements in Shelby, Windsor, Ramseur and Thomasville; two of which are NC STEP communities.”
CPNI is the community service arm associated with the Construction Professional Network of North Carolina [CPN]. CPN is a statewide, multi-disciplined and professional diverse construction industry membership organization. CPN is a construction trade association, which includes architects and designers, engineers, developers, constructors and sub-contractors, and related services professionals. Its members are either owners or senior management within their respective firms. According to Peyton Fairbanks, CPN president, “CPN is excited to provide the multiple-discipline volunteers to staff this tremendous supportive effort to our smaller rural North Carolina towns. Revitalization of our legacy assets is critical to the economic success and viability of our rural communities.”