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USDA Rural Development Invests $16.9 Million in Rural Partners Network Communities across West Virginia

Andrew Stacy
Release Date

Investments to Benefit More than 36,000 West Virginians

MORGANTOWN, May 22, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn today announced that USDA is helping rural West Virginia communities across five counties address some of their immediate needs to foster long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

“The funding announced today will help these five rural West Virginia communities carry out projects to improve access to quality health care, clean and reliable water and sewer services, and affordable housing,” said Thorn. “Through the Rural Partners Network, USDA is building stronger communities and brighter futures."

USDA is providing loans and grants to help people living in rural communities in the Rural Partners Network (RPN) access good-paying jobs, improved infrastructure, affordable housing and quality health care.

In West Virginia, the investments total $16.9 million and will support five projects in in RPN counties.

  • Boone Memorial Health will receive a $14.4 million loan to renovate a facility in Danville into a health and wellness clinic. The project will provide quality outpatient healthcare and wellness services to a service area of approximately 32,200 rural residents.
  • The town of Bradshaw will receive a $1 million grant to convert its current wastewater system into a traditional gravity system. This project will consolidate most of the existing customers onto centralized pumping stations for system efficiency and energy savings.
  • The Forrest Place Preservation Association will receive a $904,783 loan to assist in the transfer, assumption, and rehabilitation of Forrest Place Apartments, an existing multi-family housing complex in Kermit.
  • The Lavalette Public Service District will receive a $616,000 grant to upgrade the German Ridge and Dickson areas of the Northern Distribution System to better serve the system's customers with fire flow, reduced water loss, and reduced operation and maintenance costs associated with leak repairs.
  • The City of Smithers will receive a $17,200 grant to purchase a commercial tractor for the city’s Street Department. The vehicle is needed to maintain the city's green spaces and for moving and clearing rocks, mud, and debris from public areas.

In addition to West Virginia, USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack also announced funding for 47 projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Today’s announcement includes $394 million in awards from USDA that will benefit RPN communities and support their long-term visions for strong, local economies.

In the West, the funding will help Tribal communities improve water and wastewater services and bring solar power and other forms of renewable energy to Tribal lands and farms. For people living in Southern communities, projects will increase access to fresh foods in high-poverty areas and allow electric cooperatives to connect thousands of people to power with smart-grid technologies. Residents in parts of Appalachia will benefit from new investments in clean water, expanded health care services and safe, affordable housing.

A complete list of projects is available online.

RPN is an all-of-government program of more than 800 federal, state and local partners that collaborate to address specific needs in communities that have long struggled to access government programs and funding. 

Background: Rural Partners Network

Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, the Rural Partners Network is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico. In West Virginia, the Southern West Virginia Community Network, hosted by the WV Community Development Hub, and the Pioneer Community Network, hosted by Glenville State University, encompass twenty counties and are home to more than 448,000 people.

Community networks receive support from full-time USDA staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships and prepare successful applications for funding. In addition to USDA staff, there are staff at about 20 other federal agencies dedicated to RPN and making resources across the government easier to access for people in rural communities.

RPN communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and shares lessons learned through RPN for policy consideration.

For more information on RPN, visit Rural.gov.

Under the Biden Administration, 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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wv.

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