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USDA Invests in Rural Critical Community Facilities in 28 States and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Melissa Roma
Release Date

USDA Invests in Rural Critical Community Facilities in 28 States and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico


New Schools, Clinics, Hospitals Will Benefit 1.6 Million People and Help Communities Thrive


   Harrisburg, Pa., Nov. 14, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $394 million to improve critical community facilities in 28 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. State Director Curt Coccodrilli today announced that USDA is investing over $99 million in Pennsylvania.

   “Modern facilities for essential services such as schools, first responders, hospitals and health clinics are the bedrock to healthy and prosperous communities,” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building and modernizing facilities and creating jobs and educational opportunities, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

“Community Facilities programs are essential for the people who live and work in rural areas and are particularly important in addressing critical needs for health care, public safety, and public service” said State Director Curt Coccodrilli.

   Projects announced today in Pennsylvania include:

  • Elderton Borough is receiving a loan of $17,500 and grant of $15,400 to purchase a new police interceptor vehicle with upfitting and installation which will be housed at the borough's complex. The borough currently owns a 2008 vehicle which has become too costly to maintain and repair. The new vehicle will allow the police department to provide more reliable service since maintenance times and costs will be significantly reduced.


  • Happy Tails No Kill Animal Shelter will use a loan of $229,800 and a grant of $50,000 to build an animal shelter that will provide a clean, comfortable, safe and healthy environment for each animal. The applicant will also provide education to the public and pet owners by teaching humane principles and responsible pet ownership, promoting harmonious relationships, and preventing cruelty to animals and animal suffering.


  • Ehrenfeld Borough is receiving a loan of $37,500 and grant of $44,800 to purchase a new truck outfitted with snowplow and spreader. This will replace their existing dump truck which is over 17 years old.


  • Blue Mountain Hospital will use a loan of $98,500,000 towards the construction of an 80-bed replacement hospital. They will consolidate all acute inpatient services from two existing hospitals, Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton Hospital which have provided health care services to the residents of Carbon County and surrounding counties for over 60 years. The current facilities need repairs and updates to remain competitive with a state-of-the-art facility and current technology. The new hospital project is a 3-story structure that will encompass both outpatient and inpatient services including surgical, emergency, and imaging. Two floors of inpatient beds for critical care and medical surgical recovery will support acute medical care services.


  • Millcreek Township is receiving a loan of $74,300 and a grant in the amount of $42,000 to purchase a roller and plow with spreader. The applicant is in need of a roller, their current one is not operational, and the plow will help keep roads clear.


  • New Bethlehem Borough is receiving a loan of $32,000 and grant of $50,000 to purchase a new garbage truck and plow. The applicant has a need for a new garbage truck because their current one is no longer efficient, and they are adding the plow because they currently only have a dump truck to provide all street maintenance, snow removal and yard waste pickup.


  • Boggs Township will use a loan and a grant of $50,000 each to purchase a dump truck. The purchase of the dump truck would allow the township to provide maintenance and repair the roads. The truck is needed because their current fleet is reaching the end of its useful life.


  • South Renovo Borough is receiving a loan of $26,600 to purchase a new truck with attachments, tractor with attachments and a backpack with attachments. The applicant needs a new truck because their current one is old and no longer efficient, and they don't currently own a tractor or backpack.


  • Hydetown Volunteer Fire Department will use a loan of $250,000 and grant of $50,000 to purchase a 2009 pumper which will be housed at the fire department's facility. This will replace an outdated pumper tanker. This specialized piece of equipment will play a vital role in providing a better emergency response and enhanced public safety to the rural area of Crawford County.


  • Royalton Borough is receiving a loan of $175,100 and a $22,000 grant to replace the current boiler system with a more energy-efficient gas HVAC system. The current system is very outdated, and it is becoming increasingly harder to find parts to repair it.


  • Tionesta Borough will use a $44,000 loan and a grant of $50,000 to replace an existing culvert underneath private properties and State Route 36 in Tionesta, Pa. This project is a portion of a greater PennDOT infrastructure project along SR-36.


  • Friendship Fire Company #1 is receiving a $64,000 loan and a grant in amount of $47,800 to pave the parking lot and install a storm water system. The current parking lot is not large enough to accommodate events held by the fire company and they don't currently have a storm water system.


  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.

   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.

   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/pa.

   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).