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USDA Rural Development Helps the Village of Gifford Recover from a Devastating Tornado

Shari Lannon
Release Date
Mar 24, 2014

USDA Funding Helping Replace Water Tower and Water Plant in Community

Colleen Callahan, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director in Illinois, today met with representatives from the Village of Gifford to award two federal grants to help the tornado-ravaged community. USDA Rural Development is providing the community with two grants totaling $650,000 through its Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) program.  The federal funding will allow the village to provide safe water to their 975 residents.

On November 17, 2013, an EF-3 tornado tore through the small village in northeast Champaign County, destroying 70 homes and severely damaging 40 more homes.  The 50,000 gallon water tower was seriously damaged and the water plant was destroyed.

A $500,000 USDA Rural Development ECWAG grant will help replace the water plant and another $150,000 USDA ECWAG grant will help construct a new water tower.  Gifford was actually the first entity in the nation to utilize Rural Development’s simplified emergency grant process enabling the city and its residents the ability to recover more quickly.

“The new water tower and plant will alleviate the area’s health and safety concerns associated with the devastating destruction of last year’s tornado,” Callahan said. “A safe, reliable supply of drinking water is crucial to the quality of life in any community. We’re glad our funding can help the community as it continues to heal from last year’s traumatic event.”

Residents have been receiving their entire water supply through an emergency 10,000 gallon tank for past four months.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $197 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. More information on USDA Rural Development programs is available by calling (217) 352-3536, Ext 125 or at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il.