LAURINBURG — The North Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded $575,000 to Scotland County to help Edwards Wood Products with its sawmill operation.
The money will be used to construct a 250,000-gallon ground water storage tank to provide fire suppression to the site and future expansions, officials said.
Edwards Wood Products makes wood pallets, high grade lumber, wood chips and by-products. The company has four other manufacturing plants throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Marshville-based company is expected to invest more than $30 million on the sawmill and create 46 jobs over the next three years. Salaries for the new positions will vary, but will average $42,391. The average county wage is $34,037.
“Anytime Scotland County can receive state or federal dollars is a win,” said Mark Ward, county economic development director. We are very pleased NC Commerce awarded this grant to assist Edwards Wood Products. EWP purchased the Bluescope facility after looking at other counties and states. The biggest hurdle for this site was the need for fire suppression.”
The grant comes from Commerce’s North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority. RIA approved 23 grant requests totaling $17,021,540. The requests include commitments to create a total of 425 jobs with public investment in these projects expected to attract $117.6 million in private investment.
“As Gov.(Roy) Cooper has emphasized in his ‘Hometown Strong’ initiative, improving infrastructure is critical to the economic success of rural North Carolina communities,” Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said in a statement. “Whether they help renovate a building or extend water and sewer lines, the newest grants approved by the Rural Infrastructure Authority will support economic development and job creation across the state.”
Bids for the water storage project can be submitted in mid-July. Work is expected to be completed by late September.
“I called Jeff Edwards, president of EWP, and gave the good news,” Ward said “He expressed his delight with the funding and the number of former Bluescope employees he was able to hire and will continue to seek local residents to fill vacancies in the coming months.”
In addition to Laurinburg and Marshville, Edwards Wood Products has North Carolina locations in Peachland and Liberty, and in Manning, South Carolina.