WARRENTON — A hefty grant awarded to Warren County will help a local mulch company expand its business.

The county is getting a $115,000 industrial development fund that will pay for the extension of a county water line from U.S. 1 down Collins Road to the site of Heritage Mulch, permitting the company to expand its mulch-coloring operations and bring on six new, full-time employees.

Construction is slated to start this year. The project is scheduled to go to bid in April, the idea being that contractors should be able to begin work in the late summer.

“Our industrial zoned district just three miles from I-85 has great potential and is serving our existing businesses in that area well,” said County Commissioner Victor Hunt, who also serves on the Warren County Economic Development Commission Board. “This investment assistance from the state in infrastructure development will result in an existing industry’s expansion, which we know to be just as valuable to our economy as recruiting new businesses.”

Heritage Mulch’s official address is in Norlina, though Senior Assistant to the County Manager Charla Duncan noted that “many people know this as Manson or Soul City area.”

The project idea goes back a couple years.

The $115,000 award — administered by the N.C. Department of Commerce — is a non-matching grant, though the County Commissioners approved a resolution of support in October 2018 when the project was first introduced that pledged matching funds if needed, county officials said.

The terms of the grant give officials two yeast to get the water project completed.

It covers the cost of engineering and building the extension to the Heritage Mulch site, which is on land they own that adjoins the former “International Paper site,” Duncan said.

The county, she explained, applies for the grant funding on behalf of a business that’ll be able to expand using the infrastructure developed.

“Warren County is appreciative of the commitment Heritage Mulch has shown to doing business in our county,” Duncan said, adding that the grant is “indicative of the interest local leaders have for development in Warren County, and a reassurance that local and state agencies want to partner with businesses that are willing to invest in rural” North Carolina.