Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $243 million in 50 rural community facility projects in 22 states.
“Rural communities represent a wealth of opportunity,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is a partner in bringing those opportunities to life – whether attracting jobs, accessing additional capital, or improving the quality of life in these towns through access to modern community services.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The recently passed 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding, such as schools, health care facilities, libraries and infrastructure improvements. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes 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.
Kansas awardees include:
- Osborne County is receiving a $18.735 million loan to construct a 38,739-square foot hospital in Osborne, Kan. The county's current hospital is aging, and has structural, mechanical and other problems. The new hospital will have 16 inpatient beds, an outpatient clinic, laboratory and radiology departments, food service, physical therapy and administrative offices. Emergency services will also be located in the new hospital. This project will serve a population of 3,858.
- Dorrance Fire District Number 4 is receiving a $265,000 loan to expand the district’s building. The fire department lacks adequate space to store all of the district's equipment in a safe and secure building. The addition will be large enough to house all of the district's fire trucks. A shower and restrooms will be added. The population served by the project is 185.
Projects are being announced today in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
In April, Hazlett said USDA will prioritize investments to address the opioid crisis in rural communities. In the Community Facilities Grant Program rural communities, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes can apply through the usual Community Facilities grant application process for grants up to $150,000 for innovative projects such as mobile treatment clinics. Community Facilities grants may fund up to 75 percent of an eligible project.
Last year, 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, 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/ks.