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Town of Vass Awarded $650,000 Rural Transformation Grant

Governor Roy Cooper recently announced the Town of Vass has received a $650,000 Rural Transformation Grant to build sidewalks that will connect Vass-Lakeview Elementary School to the Sandy Ramey Keith Park.  The pedestrian improvements will also include bike racks, benches, micro libraries, activities for children, public art, and landscaping/trees – all designed to uplift the community aesthetically and spur greater economic activity and private investment. Eventually, the sidewalks will connect to Vass’ downtown district to provide safe ways for residents and visitors of all ages and physical capabilities to walk and bike throughout the town.

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund is part of the broader Rural Engagement and Investment Program from the N.C. Department of Commerce and is designed to provide funding and technical assistance to rural local governments for revitalizing downtown districts, building resilient neighborhoods, supporting small businesses, and advancing other community growth and economic development initiatives. The Town of Vass is one of 42 local governments in rural areas across North Carolina to be awarded a grant in the second round of the Rural Transformation Grant Fund awards.

“Vass is experiencing changes and growth like all areas of Moore County and with that we want to ensure we are keeping up with the desires and needs of our citizens,” said Henry “Eddie” Callahan, Mayor of Vass. “One thing we lack is safe non-vehicular connections. We have a goal of providing pedestrian connections throughout most of our small town and this grant will help us kickstart that vision with sidewalks and amenities in the heart of Vass by connecting our downtown area with our town park.”

Last year Vass, along with the Town of Carthage, was selected to participate in the Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program, which is also part of the Rural Transformation Grant Fund. The RC2 program helps small towns move their economic development initiatives forward through strategic planning.

“By participating in the RC2 program and leveraging the educational programming and technical assistance they received, Vass was better positioned to successfully apply for the Resilient Neighborhoods grant funding,” said Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Moore County Partners in Progress.  “They were able to clarify their vision of how to best use the funding to provide the most benefit for the town. It will be exciting to see the Town of Vass enhanced by these much needed pedestrian improvements.”

“The entire town of Vass is honored to have been chosen for this grant, and we greatly appreciate the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Rural Economic Development Division for supporting the economic growth of North Carolina’s rural communities like Vass,” Callahan added.

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