The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing more than $3 million in rural community service facilities in rural areas across the Commonwealth.
“Quality of life in rural America is a key component to achieving prosperity,” said Beth Green, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “We’re proud that the projects announced here in Virginia today will support the quality of life in rural areas by focusing on the health and safety needs of residents across the Commonwealth.”
Today’s awardees are:
Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. is receiving a direct loan of $2.5 million to consolidate the Bayview and Franktown Community Health Centers to provide affordable and accessible medical, dental and health care to residents on the Eastern Shore. By consolidating the two centers into a state-of-the-art facility, Rural Health will be able to expand operating hours and lab services, provide access to telemedicine and increase dental care access. The new center will also attract health care providers to the area and help resolve the current shortage of medical and dental providers on the Shore.
The Town of Woodstock is receiving a $325,000 direct loan to construct a 50-space parking lot on nearly one acre of land behind buildings in the 100 block of the town’s South Main Street. The project will provide safe, adequate parking for town residents at the downtown pharmacy and drug stores; several churches; the Circuit Court Clerk's Office; the Chamber of Commerce; the Probation office and the Parole office. Parking will also be provided for retail businesses in the downtown center. The project will improve pedestrian safety by streamlining pedestrian traffic and commercial traffic. This loan will also help provide storm water management through creative "green infrastructure" solutions such as increasing the urban tree canopy, and repairing nearly 400 linear feet of undersized pipe to reduce flooding. Storm water structures will be installed to resolve storm water issues in the downtown area.
The Town of Shenandoah is receiving a $91,800 direct loan and a $16,200 grant to purchase a new, full-size backhoe with a hydraulic thumb and a quick-attach loader bucket, and two new commercial-grade zero-turn mowers. The new equipment is needed to provide public works services and upkeep of the town's property. All equipment items will be purchased via state contract or through the competitive bidding process.
The Town of Clintwood is receiving an $11,000 direct loan and a $25,000 grant to purchase a police vehicle with modern equipment to replace an older high-mileage vehicle.
The City of Norton is receiving a $30,000 direct loan and a $23,493 grant to purchase two police vehicles with modern equipment, replacing older models.
USDA is supporting these quality-of-life projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.
This announcement comes as part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement 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.”
The projects Hazlett announced today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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.