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USDA Officials Visit Fremont to Celebrate Opening of Public Library Expansion

Heather Stacy
Release Date

FREMONT, Ohio, Aug. 2, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director in Ohio Jonathan McCracken today, alongside local and state officials, visited the city of Fremont to celebrate the grand re-opening of Birchard Public Library of Sandusky County, thanks to a partnership with USDA through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program.

“Every investment that we make here at Rural Development impacts the growth and economic sustainability of our great state’s rural areas,” McCracken said. “It is rewarding to see those investments in action and hear about the positive impacts directly from those living in the community. As long as we can continue to be a part of the investment to address the distinct needs of rural communities, we are one step closer to building a stronger and more resilient rural Ohio.”

A historical landmark in the heart of Fremont sits the founding branch of the Birchard Public Library. First opening its doors to the public of Sandusky County in 1874, the library has long been a staple of this community – so much so that satellite facilities were built in Gibonsburg, Green Springs, and Woodville over the years to accommodate growing interest. After a recent survey of community members, it was determined that an expansion was inevitable if the needs outlined in this survey were going to be met. In partnership with private and state organizations, as well as a $3.6 million loan/grant combo through USDA, Birchard Public Library was able to construct an 8,500 square foot addition to its Fremont-based headquarters. This addition boasts new restrooms, a more spacious and accessible lobby, additional meeting space, space for community technical assistance, and much more.    

USDA also partnered with the library on additional grant funding to purchase new equipment for the expansion project. These investments reflect the many ways that USDA Rural Development’s programs can help rural areas address the unique needs of their individual and surrounding communities.  

Background: Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants

USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program helps residents in rural areas build or improve essential community infrastructure and purchase or replace equipment needed for essential community services.

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.

To learn more about Community Facilities Program funding opportunities, contact your local USDA Rural Development office. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.

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.

Contact USDA Rural Development

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/oh or by following @Ohio_RD on Twitter.