USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced more than $1.4 million in loans and grants for three projects that will help small, rural businesses and communities throughout Minnesota. Funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, through which USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment.
"Supporting small businesses and rural communities is vital to our economic health," Landkamer said. "This funding enables communities to provide important support services and access to capital for rural, small businesses. Since the start of this Administration, nearly 350 jobs were created and over 600 retained as a result of funding through this program."
Lake Country Power out of Grand Rapids, Minn. will receive a $130,000 Rural Economic Development loan to help Serenity Living Solutions, Inc. construct an 11,656-square-foot assisted living facility in the rural community of Remer. The new space will house 16 individual units and a community gathering space. This project will also help create 10 new positions.
In Jackson, Minn., Federated Rural Electric Association (FREA) has been selected to receive a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant to help the Cities of Round Lake and Heron Lake purchase new tanker pumper fire trucks for their volunteer fire departments. This funding will replace the current vehicles originally purchased in 1979 and 1980, and help both departments’ ability to meet current safety standards.
Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power Association in Dunube will receive a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan to provide financing to R-S Fiber for installation of high-speed internet in rural communities throughout Sibley and McLeod Counties. This project is expected to create 11 new jobs.
USDA Rural Development has a strong track record of strengthening rural businesses and economies through its Rural Business-Cooperative Service. For example, in an announcement made by USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah during her visit to local manufacturing company Avantech in Baxter, Minn., Crow Wing Power & Light (CWP) and Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) were each awarded a $500,000 Rural Economic Development loan. Funding will be used to assist Avantech with financing a 6.5 acre site and construction of a 48,200 sq. ft. manufacturing, engineering, and office facility.
Since 2009, USDA has invested nearly $15 million through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, for more than 30 rural economic development projects throughout Minnesota.
USDA Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, community facilities, local foods, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and broadband. USDA has invested over $6 billion in rural community economic development throughout Minnesota across more than 40 programs since the beginning of this Administration.