Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states.
“Modern community facilities are key drivers of economic development,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building and maintaining these institutions that are foundational to quality of life and prosperity.”
USDA is funding 16 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as public schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. In South Carolina:
• Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., will use a $9.6 million loan to renovate three buildings on the campus. Funds will be used to re-purpose the Springs Student Center to better serve the students and the community. This is Phase II to complement Phase I of the project in which USDA funded $50.8 million in Fiscal Year 2018. The college currently has 899 students, but enrollment is projected to increase to $1,161 by 2022. This project will also create 11 jobs within the Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training program.
In addition to South Carolina, the projects announced today are located in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
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 key 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).
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.sc.