The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $2.4 million in funding to support projects through the Open Grants Program, Community-Based Grant Initiative, and Disaster Recovery Grant Program.

The funds include $1 million to Watauga County to support a building and infrastructure for a livestock processing center that will serve an estimated 500 producers primarily in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, and Watauga counties.

Funding also was awarded to Ashe County for preconstruction and construction costs for an access road, a gas line, a water main, a gravity sewer main, and telecommunications infrastructure to support creation of a new 41.7-acre industrial park to address the county’s lack of suitable sites to market to prospective industrial companies.

Nearly $1.1 million was awarded to Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute for tools, equipment, wrapped truck and trailer, trainers, and parts to develop a regional Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program that would be the only diesel program serving Caldwell, Watauga, Burke, Catawba, and Alexander counties.

In addition, the North Carolina Community College System was awarded $1.75 million to support scholarships for rural students from tobacco-dependent or economically distressed counties to attend participating North Carolina community colleges. Curriculum students can receive up to $2,250 per year, and continuing education students can receive up to $1,850 per year.

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