The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing more than $84 million in four rural community facility projects in Virginia.
“Essential community infrastructure helps to ensure that rural Virginians experience a basic quality of life necessary for their communities to thrive,” said Beth Green, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “These investments are helping to meet critical needs across the Commonwealth. School facility improvements, mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment are among the needs being met today.”
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.
Today’s awardees include:
VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is receiving a $65,000,000 direct loan to construct a replacement hospital and physician office building. The new facility will provide more services to residents of Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Lunenburg that include cardiology, pulmonology, ear nose and throat, urology, general surgery, family practice, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology. Community Memorial Hospital Physician Services, LLC is exploring ways to transform the delivery system for in- and outpatient opioid treatment services.
The City of Galax is receiving a $17,100,000 loan to renovate and add space to the Galax Elementary School. Upgrades include replacing mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems that are more than 50 years old. Other upgrades include energy efficiency window units and exterior wall insulation.
(M.P.N.N.) Mental Health and Mental Retardation Properties, Inc. is receiving a $2,200,000 loan to purchase and renovate two buildings for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Mental Health and Mental Retardation Properties, Inc. will provide mental health and substance abuse services including opioid treatment for the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, Middlesex, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland.
The Town of Exmore is receiving a $12,500 loan to purchase a public works vehicle to be used as a dump truck for town maintenance. The new public works vehicle will replace a 1990 model.
This announcement comes as part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement today highlighting that 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.
Projects are also 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, 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.