The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Virginia Rural Development office today announced it has approved a $361,000 low-interest loan and a $90,000 grant for the Town of Big Stone Gap to upgrade access and security surrounding Big Cherry Reservoir.
“Ensuring there is a reliable, clean water supply for rural Virginians is vital, and ensuring access to, maintenance of, and security around that water is just as important,” said Janice Stroud-Bickes, Virginia’s USDA Rural Development Acting State Director. “We work with towns like Big Stone Gap across Virginia to help find solutions to water issues because establishing and stabilizing adequate access to water is the foundation for healthy living, strong quality of life and positive economic development.”
USDA Rural Development funds will be used to install gravity-type retaining walls around the access road to the Big Cherry Reservoir. The project also involves road improvements, including pothole repair, cleaning and regrading of ditches, culvert outlet protection and additional drainage culverts in and around slope failure areas.
In addition, the project includes the installation of several closed-circuit television security cameras connected to the water treatment plant and local police department; perimeter fencing and additional lighting around the dam; and an access control gate system at the plant.
Big Stone Gap received a $25,000 USDA Predevelopment Planning Grant for this project in 2016.
Funding announced today is made available through the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas.
In 2016, USDA Rural Development in Virginia invested in 38 water and environmental projects totaling more than $50 million in loans and grants.
Funding of the award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan.
USDA Rural Development in 2016 invested more than $1.2 billion in rural Virginia through 40 loan, grant and loan guarantee programs in housing, business, agriculture, energy, health care and community facilities. The agency has employees stationed in 14 offices across the commonwealth to better serve residents where they live and to improve the economy and quality of life in rural Virginia.