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USDA Invests $14.8 Million to Support Entrepreneurs, Build Infrastructure and Improve Access to Affordable Housing for Rural Partners Network Communities in West Virginia

Andrew Stacy
Release Date

MORGANTOWN, August 28, 2023 – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn joined U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III to announce investments of $9.5 million in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties. These are part of a larger $14.8 million investment in Rural Partners Network communities across West Virginia to foster long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

“The USDA Rural Development led Rural Partners Network initiative is working to ensure that rural West Virginia communities have the opportunity to succeed, and the people that live in those communities have an opportunity to not just survive – but thrive,” said Thorn. “We understand that a stronger, more successful community doesn’t effortlessly appear after one federal award. It’s a years-long process of visioning, planning, and investing. The funding announced today is a commitment to that process and a testament to the work being done by the Rural Partners Network across twenty counties in our state. This funding will help West Virginia communities carry out projects that strengthen basic infrastructure, spur economic growth, enhance community services, and lead to more resilient communities.”

Rural Development is providing grants, direct loans, and loan guarantees to help people living in rural communities in the Rural Partners Network (RPN) access good-paying jobs, improved infrastructure, and affordable housing.

The investments total $14,810,642 and will support 12 projects in six RPN designated counties in West Virginia.

Braxton County

  • Deer Forest Apartments, LP will receive a $250,000 Multi-Family Housing Loan Guarantee to assist in the rehabilitation of Deer Forest Apartments in Gassaway. This project will improve the living conditions for all the current and future tenants of this 32-unit multi-family housing complex.

Fayette County

  • Gainwell Engineering LLC will receive a $5,000,000 Business and Industry Loan to purchase equipment and make updates to its facility in Hico. Gainwell Engineering LLC is a new business in West Virginia and is continuing operations of a former equipment supplier. The business will be creating 18 jobs and saving 22.
  • Seed Sower, Inc. will receive a $50,000 Community Facilities grant to purchase a multi-passenger vehicle to transport clients to and from appointments. Seed Sower, Inc. operates a substance abuse treatment center that serves the city of Montgomery.
  • The City of Smithers will receive a $50,000 Rural Business Development Grant to complete renovations to a building being used for a new business startup.

Gilmer County

  • The city of Glenville will receive a $26,900 Community Facilities grant to purchase a law enforcement cruiser for the Glenville Police Department. This will expand its fleet of vehicles to accommodate three full-time officers to serve the city of 1,900 residents.

Mercer County

  • The Princeton Economic Development Authority will receive a $33,000 Rural Business Development Grant to create a business mapping dashboard which will include information on current business and available storefronts. The project will map approximately 1,200 locations.
  • The Bluefield Economic Development Authority will receive a $99,000 Rural Business Development Grant to purchase two food-truck trailers. The project will allow participants in the Bluefield EDA’s food-truck incubator program to test their businesses.

Monroe County

  • The Red Sulphur Public Service District will receive a $3,803,000 loan and a $996,000 grant through the Water and Waste Disposal Program to extend its waterlines to bring over 80 new residential customers to the PSD and provide safe drinking water to citizens within the proposed project.
  • Belle Vue Dairy LLC will receive a $19,921 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to purchase and install a 19.71-kilowatt solar array. This project will realize $5,502 per year in savings and will replace 23,553 kilowatt hours per year, or 47 percent, which is enough electricity to power two homes.
  • Panucci Orthodontics, PLLC will receive a $39,821 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 42-kilowatt solar array at its Farming Smiles office. This project annually will save $4,771 and replace 52,378 kilowatt hours per year, or 94 percent, enough energy to power four homes.

Nicholas County

  • Appalachian Stave LLC will receive a $4,344,000 Business and Industry Loan Guarantee to purchase equipment and support the company’s working capital needs. The facility will manufacture wood staves used for the production of oak barrels.

Raleigh County

  • The WV Hive Network will receive a $99,000 Rural Business Development Grant to make renovations to create retail and incubation space for entrepreneurs.

Rural Partners Network is an all-of-government program of more than 800 federal, state and local partners that collaborate to address specific needs in communities that have long struggled to access government programs and funding. 

Background: Rural Partners Network

Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, the Rural Partners Network is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico. In West Virginia, the Southern West Virginia Community Network, hosted by the WV Community Development Hub, and the Pioneer Community Network, hosted by Glenville State University, encompass twenty counties and are home to more than 448,000 people.

West Virginia Community networks receive support from full-time USDA Rural Development staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships, and prepare successful applications for funding. In addition to USDA staff, there are staff at over 24 other federal agencies dedicated to RPN and making resources across the government easier to access for people in rural communities.

RPN communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and shares lessons learned through RPN for policy consideration.

For more information on RPN, visit Rural.gov.

Under the Biden Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wv.

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