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USDA Highlights Rural Michigan Housing, Community Development

Alec Lloyd
East Lansing
Release Date
Dec 11, 2014

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner today joined Rural Housing Administrator Tony Hernandez to highlight projects in Keeler, Plainwell and St. Johns.

“It is great to see examples of the many ways USDA Rural Development is helping families and communities,” Hernandez said.  “From farm to downtown and the family home, we are making a difference in rural Michigan.”

Hernandez visited the Sunrise Apartments off-farm labor housing project, located in Keeler, a community in southwest Van Buren County.  The facility has 22 seasonal housing units, two of which were added during the current rehabilitation.  USDA Rural Development provided a $1,208,624 grant and $134,292 loan under the Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing program to support the project.

“The tour showcases the diversity of rural Michigan and the ways USDA Rural Development is revitalizing farms, homes and towns,” Turner said.

Hernandez then visited the Plainwell Public Safety Building.  The structure was originally built as the sludge de-watering facility for the paper mill and when the mill closed, the complex was left vacant.  The agency provided a $1,350,000 Community Facilities loan redevelop the Public Safety Building and additional structures on the site, including Plainwell City Hall, are now being renovated.

The visit concluded with a presentation at a home in St. Johns constructed in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.  USDA Rural Development provided assistance through its 502 Direct Home Loan program.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.  USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Under the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $6.1 billion in Michigan projects.