Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million in 119 rural community service facilities in 29 states.
“At USDA, we believe in rural America and in the promise of small towns and the people who call them home,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, we are committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in building healthy, prosperous futures for their communities.”
Hazlett announced the funding following a meeting here of the Western Governors Association. USDA is supporting these quality-of-life projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. For example:
The Village of Sand Lake, in Kent County, is receiving a $735,000 loan to improve Lake Street in the downtown business district. The village will reconstruct the street and sidewalks, make storm and sewer improvements to eliminate frequent flooding, and install decorative lighting.
The Village of Bear Lake, in Manistee County, is receiving $328,000 to construct a Department of Public Works building. The village currently has no facility to maintain and store its equipment. Exposure to outside elements decreases the life expectancy of the equipment.The new building will have 2,600 square feet, four bays, a small office, and a restroom and the project will serve this community of 286 residents.
Glen Oaks Community College, in St. Joseph County, is receiving $2,200,000 to renovate the common area. The current facility was built in 1965 and upgrades will be made to the lighting and HVAC systems, the cafe, a small meeting space for group instruction, restrooms, and student and faculty common areas. The college just completed a 106-bed dormitory, which now means students are on the campus around the clock.
The City of Harrison, in Clare County, is receiving $360,000 to purchase a fire truck, specifically known as a pumper tender. This vehicle will replace two aging trucks. The pumper tender has a high-capacity pump.Additional equipment will be added to the truck to comply with National Fire Protection Association standards. This project will serve an area of 2,114 residents.
The Village of Paw Paw, in Van Buren County, is receiving $925,200 to restore the Briggs Mill Dam. This dam was built more than 110 years ago and, along with another dam on the north end of Maple Lake, helps control water levels.The dam was breached in October 2017 due to heavy rainfall and is not currently operating.Water continues to flow through the breach area and erode the embankment.The project consists of reconstructing the earthen dam, and constructing an emergency spillway to ensure the restored dam will be able to withstand a 200-year flood event.A pedestrian boardwalk that was washed away during the flooding and will be reconstructed. The project will serve an area with 3,534 residents.
"These projects are excellent examples of how we can help increase public safety, transportation and opportunity in rural Michigan,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Jason Allen. “I encourage communities to contact us to see how we can help.”
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for USDA Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.
The 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.