U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Indiana State Director Michael Dora today announced that USDA Rural Development is investing $10,045,000 to renovate, improve and provide additional financing for four Indiana communities.
“USDA is a key partner in assisting rural communities to thrive,” Dora said. “The investments announced today are crucial to increasing the quality of life for our rural residents who are the staple of our economy.”
The town of Laurel, Ind. in Franklin County is receiving a $201,000 loan and $457,000 grant to improve their wastewater treatment plant. Improvements will remove current sanctions related to e-Coli and chlorides limits. This project will increase the reliability of the water treatment process and improve water quality for 512 residents at a reasonable rate for rural Franklin County, Ind. Laurel also received a Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant of $30,000 to complete the engineering and environmental reports for this investment project.
The city of Boonville, Ind. is receiving a $3,657,000 million loan and a $629,000 grant to renovate and improve their water utility system for the Boonville Water Utility service area. A new well will be installed within their existing well field, along with some meters and other targeted installation. Solar panels will be added to their existing well field and treatment plant and meters within the system will be replaced. Construction of a booster station will address their north system needs. This project will improve the quality of water to Boonville, rural customers in Boon Township and Hart Township where service is provided.
The town of Wolcott, Ind. is receiving a $1,693,000 million loan and $1,311,000 grant to construct a new wastewater treatment plant. This will replace the existing plant and will triple its capacity. With an increased capacity, Wolcott will gain a modernized and more efficient treatment plant to accommodate our 1,001 citizens and the future generations of White County. With this addition, Wolcott will be able to offer services for the future Mid-American Commerce Park on the west side of town. Several companies are interested in building near the park once it is completed. The residential portion funding will come from USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environment Program and Indiana’s allocation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant funds. The future expansion and industrial park will be funded by White County commissioner’s county fund and from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The city of Columbia City, Ind. is receiving a $2,097,000 million loan to provide additional financing for a combined sewer system for its rural 8,750 residents in Whitley County, Ind. This project will help fund and overhaul their current undersized system which cannot adequately handle sewage during extreme wet weather conditions. A long-term control plan is in place with Columbia City through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Today’s announcement came as part of a larger statement from USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “D.J.” LaVoy - USDA Invest in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 13 States.
“Modern, reliable and accessible infrastructure is critical to economic development and quality of life,” LaVoy stated. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA has awarded nearly $1.8 billion for Water and Environmental Program loans and grants during fiscal year 2019. View the interactive RD Apply tool or contact one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices for application or eligibility information.
USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.