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Commissioners approve finance plan for planned Farm, Food and Family Education Center

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Commissioners approved installment financing totaling $4 million related to design, permitting and environmental studies necessary to develop the proposed Farm, Food and Family Education Center (F3EC). 


The action was taken during the commissioners’ latest meeting on Aug. 1.


The financing entails two interest-free loans from the US Department of Agriculture through Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. Both loans are for $2 million and are to be paid off within 10 years. There is a 1 percent annual administrative fee for the outstanding balances. 


The loan applications will be considered by the Local Government Commission at its Sept. 22 meeting.


The county owns some 104 acres on East Dixie Drive, Asheboro, set aside for the F3EC. It would be comprised of an agricultural events center, an office building and an agricultural arena.


The board also accepted a Rural Transformation grant for $900,000 for construction of the F3EC. The grant is through the NC Department of Commerce. The Resilient Neighborhoods category offers grants focused on community development and quality of life improvements, such as eliminating food deserts, creating healthy living initiatives, and increasing access to affordable housing options, among other initiatives. This grant program is funded through ARPA, the federal American Rescue Plan Act.


The $4 million in loans and the $900,000 grant are in addition to $16 million for the F3EC included in the state budget.