U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $139 million in 56 projects to improve community facilities and provide essential services for 3.3 million rural residents in 23 states. Alabama State Director Chris Beeker III announced Alabama will receive over $3.3 Million for 6 projects.
“This is exciting for Rural Alabama. Fire safety, police protection and improving infrastructure are necessities when it comes to our rural areas prospering,” Beeker said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building and modernizing these facilities in rural America, because we believe that when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process.
Investments in Alabama include:
The Town of Loxley is receiving a $111,400 loan and a $46,000 grant to purchase for new trucks, three equipped as police vehicles and one as an administrative vehicle. The vehicles are in operation 24 hours a day limiting their useful life to approximately five years. The current fleet is beyond its useful life.
The City of Sheffield is receiving a $2,748,000 loan to build roadways to a new development called Inspiration Landing. This development will bring a hotel, amphitheater, event center and retail center to Sheffield, Ala. Currently there are no access roads to the property. Access roads are required for this development to prosper. The developer also plans to build 131 homes in the next few years. Access roads are required for this development to prosper.
The Paint Rock Volunteer Fire Department Inc. is receiving a $39,700 and a $35,300 grant to purchase a newer fire truck and equipment. Of their current two trucks, one is a 1980 model with major front-end issues and is only used as a last resort due to safety concerns. The fire department is down to four air tanks that are being refilled. The new truck and air tanks are necessary to ensure the safety of the fire fighters as they protect the citizens in the service area.
The Waterloo Volunteer Fire District is receiving a $110,000 loan to purchase a fire truck with hydraulic equipment and refinance an existing loan. The Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department serves approximately 120 square miles with three fire stations. Replacing one of the fire trucks and purchasing hydraulic tools will provide faster response times and improve service during vehicle accidents. Paying off an existing debt with these funds will keep the payments affordable.
The Elkmont Volunteer Fire Department Inc. is receiving a $70,000 loan to purchase a pumper fire truck. The current fleet does not meet Insurance Service Office (ISO) standards. The new pumper truck will have the higher water capacity required by ISO. The ISO rating is required to keep the residents' insurance premiums affordable. The new truck will provide better protection for the city of Elkmont.
The East Providence Volunteer Fire Department is receiving a $121,000 loan and a $20,000 grant to purchase a 40-foot by 60-foot prefabricated metal building to add to the fire station. The existing fire station is undersized and cannot house the fire trucks and equipment. The new building will have a higher eave height with two roll-up bay doors providing space for two fire trucks. There will also be a community room, kitchenette, accessible bathrooms and a small office.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program 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.
The investments announced today are in Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. USDA had $2.8 billion available for Community Facilities direct loans and grants in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
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.
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 cornerstone 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).