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USDA Invests $7.3 Million to Improve Community Infrastructure in Rural Florida

Name
Rochelle Urquhart
City
Gainesville
Release Date
Jan 27, 2022

Funding Will Increase Access to Health Care, Education and Public Safety for Rural Communities

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 27, 2022 – Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh recently announced that USDA is investing $7,320,580 to build and improve critical community facilities in Florida. 

This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities across the state. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in infrastructure improvements a top priority,” Bronaugh said. “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all communities, such as health care facilities, schools, libraries, and first responder vehicles and equipment. When we invest in essential services in rural America, we build opportunity and prosperity for the people who call rural communities home.”

Bronaugh highlighted nine projects that USDA is making in three programs that will fund essential community services to help rural Florida build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. 

These programs include Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees and Community Facilities Disaster Grants

Projects in Florida include:

  • TAG! Children's Museum of St. Augustine in St. Johns County, Fla., will use $4,800,980 Community Facility Direct Loan and Guaranteed Loan to construct a 6,300 sq. ft. children's museum along with a 30,000 sq. ft. series of outdoor gardens and play spaces on an existing four-acre property in St. Augustine. This new facility will offer STEAM based programming to the community and to tourists who visit the area.
  • City of Marianna in Jackson County, Fla., will use $1,713,500 Community Facility Disaster Grant to construct a 32,389 sq. ft. public safety building which will house both the fire and police stations. This new facility will replace the existing buildings that are over 79 years old. The existing facilities were extremely outdated, in need of repair and were damaged during Hurricane Michael. The new facility will provide improved emergency response services to the residents of Marianna.
  • City of Bristol in Liberty County, Fla., will use $429,900 Community Facility Disaster Grant to expand and upgrade the city hall and fire safety complex in Bristol. This expansion project will provide enhancements and additional square footage to the facility, allowing for adequate support for the fire personnel and their ability to perform their duties for the citizens of Bristol and Liberty County safely. The funding will also increase functionality, enhance accessibility and will properly house fire and safety apparatus and equipment.
  • City of Bonifay in Holmes County, Fla., will use $20,700 Community Facility Disaster Grant and $24,300 Community Facility Grant to purchase and install a new roof for the multi-purpose center. The existing roof experienced extensive damage during Hurricane Michael. The project will enable the city to reopen the facility for use by the citizens of Bonifay.
  • Town of Noma in Holmes County, Fla., will use $3,000 Community Facility Disaster Grant to provide additional financing for the roof replacement for the town hall in Noma. The improvement is to replace a roof that was damaged during Hurricane Michael. The new roof will enable continued use of the facility for the town and its citizens.
  • Holmes County Hospital Corporation in Holmes County, Fla., will use $40,100 Community Facility Disaster Grant to purchase a medical transportation van. The new van will enable the hospital to provide health care services to patients that lack the resources to transport themselves to receive medical care.
  • Town of Caryville in Washington County, Fla., will use $41,700 Community Facility Disaster Grant and $13,900 Community Facility Direct Loan to purchase a utility truck and tractor for the public works department. The existing utility truck has high mileage and having extensive maintenance issues. This will allow for increased capabilities for maintaining the town roadways and provide improved services to the residents.
  • City of Chipley in Washington County, Fla., will use $92,400 Community Facility Disaster Grant to purchase three new fully equipped police vehicles for the police department. The existing vehicles are high mileage, experiencing maintenance issues and a safety concern. The addition of the new vehicles will allow for increased capabilities and provide improved emergency response services to the residents, as well as increased safety for law enforcement officers.
  • Town of Wausau in Washington County, Fla., will use $87,300 Community Facility Disaster Grant and $52,800 Community Facility Direct Loan to purchase equipment and furnishings for the newly constructed fire station for the town. The existing equipment is aging and is not adequate for fire protection services. The addition of new equipment will allow for increased capabilities and provide improved emergency response services to the residents. 

Background

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. For more info. visit www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.

Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process. 

The recent announcements come as part of a larger, nationwide announcement from USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh where she announced $1 billion to improve community infrastructure for people living in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Under the Biden-Harris 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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