Rural Development State Director for North Carolina Robert Hosford today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $496,000 in community facilities projects that will benefit more than 6,900 rural Americans in North Carolina.
“USDA - continues to make investments in North Carolina’s community facilities, by improving infrastructure and first responder capabilities,” State Director Robert Hosford said. “The investments will make a significant impact in rural towns across the state and help create more opportunities for greater prosperity for our business owners, families, and municipalities.”
USDA is making the investments and has additional funding available through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development State office for application and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process.
The projects that USDA announced today that will benefit North Carolina are:
- Mars Hill University will use a $300,000 loan and $73,000 grant to build a pedestrian bridge on the campus of the university that will replace an old bridge in poor condition which has supports located in Gabriel Creek. These supports cause debris to be trapped in the creek, negatively impacting the creek's water flow. No part of the new pedestrian bridge will be in Gabriel Creek, thus allowing for free water flow. The new bridge will provide students, faculty, campus visitors and residents with safe and easy access to the university’s athletic facilities and to the Dr. W. Otis Duck Memorial Greenway.
- The town of Ahoskie will use a $55,000 loan and a $68,000 grant to purchase three new police vehicles, as well as vehicle equipment. The town currently has a fleet of 20 police vehicles, most of which are more than five years old. These older vehicles have significant maintenance and repair expenses. Replacing the vehicles will be cost efficient and will provide the town's police officers with safe and reliable transportation.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $2.8 billion for Community Facilities direct loans and grants in fiscal year 2019.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).