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USDA Rural Development Invests $2.7 Million to Improve Community Infrastructure for People Living in Rural Towns Across Maine

Name
Nicole Howell
Phone
City
Bangor
Release Date
Jan 28, 2022

Funding Will Increase Access to Health Care, Education and Public Safety for the People Who Call Rural Communities Home

BESSEMER, Al., Jan. 26, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh today announced that USDA is investing $1 billion to build and improve critical community facilities in 48 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities. In Maine, five organizations are receiving loans and grants totaling $2,708,700.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in infrastructure improvements a top priority,” Bronaugh said. “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all communities, such as health care facilities, schools, libraries, and first responder vehicles and equipment. When we invest in essential services in rural America, we build opportunity and prosperity for the people who call rural communities’ home.”

USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon C. Hampson said, “These investments in rural Maine communities do not go unappreciated. The creation, renovation and rebuilding of these rural organizations are paramount for those who live and visit here; the awardees are not only celebrating the stories of our heritage, but the innovative work that we are engaged in now as a state. When I read through the list of recipients, I see a bright future for Maine as we welcome this administration’s acknowledgement of our important infrastructure through critical funding.”


The following organization in Maine is receiving a Community Facilities Direct Loan:

  • Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation, Inc. has been awarded $2,500,000 to construct an education, training and research facility. The Smith Center for Education and Research will enable the organization to expand upon their ability to engage in charitable, education and scientific activities related to alternative farming techniques, conservation management, research, education and public stewardship. It will allow them to increase their workshops, seminars and camp meetings from 18 participants to around 150. This funding will provide a needed heated indoor growing space, teaching kitchen, classroom space, dining area and a small year-round retail space. This facility will benefit more than 281,000 individuals.

The following organizations in Maine are receiving more than $188,000 in Community Facilities Grants:

  • The Young Men’s Christian Association of Old Town and Orono has been awarded a $106,000 grant to replace the current fire alarm system. It will replace a system that has been added onto, extended and repaired beyond its capabilities. The new system will ensure notification and timely evacuation. This project will have an impact on more than 67,000 people.
  • The Town of Old Orchard Beach has been awarded $50,000 for the acquisition of a new ambulance and lifesaving and safety equality. Old Orchard Beach is a summertime destination for many tourists, and it is important for the town to have adequate emergency vehicles and equipment to help those require assistance. The purchase will also include two power stretchers, making it easier to load and unload patience. This funding will help provide a safer environment for more than 8,700 individuals who live in and visit this area.
  • The Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum has been awarded $12,300 for a new digital road sign, which will increase visibility of museum and community events and emergency alerts. Along with the museum, there is an agricultural barn, a transportation and snow removal barn, a barrel-making shop, and a blacksmith’s shop. They are open for tours, public suppers and conferences. The museum also serves as an emergency facility for the area. This project will benefit more than 14,000 individuals.
  • The Ste. Agathe Historical Society has been awarded a $20,400 grant to renovate the Longfellow School, a one-room schoolhouse dating back to the 1920s. This funding will pay for windows, ceiling and flooring repairs, entrance area renovations and the rebuilding of the storage and outhouse facility. The floors will be repaired with hardwood flooring saved from the Our Lady of Peace Hall, which was part of the Daughter’s of Wisdom’s Boarding School, dating back to the 1960s. The renovations will create a gathering place for visitor and residents to learn about the history of the one-room schoolhouses that served the surrounding communities from that era.
     

Bronaugh highlighted 737 projects that USDA is making in five programs that will fund essential community services to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. These programs include Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Technical Assistance Training Grants, Community Facilities Disaster Grants, and Economic Impact Initiative Grants. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals and clinics and help fund other essential community facilities.

Background:  

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. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.

Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.

The awards being announced today are being made in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.

Under the Biden-Harris 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov

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