Funding Includes Support for First Responders, Schools and Essential Community Infrastructure
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA invested in nearly 400 projects nationwide to provide essential services for more than 7 million people in rural areas across the country in Fiscal Year 2017.
“Partnering with our small towns and cities to support essential services that rural residents need is one way USDA is facilitating prosperity in rural America,” Perdue said. “USDA’s investments will help communities significantly improve their schools, hospitals and public safety facilities, and improve the quality of life.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “I am pleased USDA Rural Development can invest in essential community facilities like these as a part of our mission. Having access to quality education, state-of-the-art first-responders, and other vital community infrastructure makes Maine communities great places to live, work, and raise the next generation.”
USDA infused $1.5 billion into rural areas in 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program for projects such as schools, libraries, municipal centers, first responder vehicles and equipment, social service buildings, recreational activities and other community needs. These investments are helping nearly 7 million rural residents.
In Maine, six community facilities that received Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant funds of $3,846,000 are:
- The Saint George Volunteer Fire Department has been selected to receive a total of $475,000. Rural Development funds will be used to construct a live training facility, also known as a burn house, in St. George to address the real time safety concerns that firefighters face while on the job. The training facility will be used by firefighting personnel throughout Knox County serving a population of 39,736.
- Tri-Town Ambulance and Rescue has been selected to receive a total of $75,000. Rural Development funds will be used to purchase a re-purposed ambulance and a 15 Lead Cardiac Monitor. The new equipment benefits the communities served by Tri-Town Ambulance including Sumner, Rumford, Norway, Paris, and West Paris.
- Town of Livermore Falls has been selected to receive funds totaling $713,000. Rural Development funds will be used to rehabilitate their existing fire station through necessary structural repairs and upgrades to bring it into compliance with ADA, life safety codes, and building codes. The existing fire station is 50 years old.
- Town of Winthrop has been selected to receive funds in the amount of $2,000,000. Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new fire station in a location that is more centrally located to meet the needs of this growing community. Located on approximately 3 acres of land adjacent to a major state highway, the new fire station will substantially improve emergency response times not only for in town residents but for mutual aid requests from surrounding communities.
- Kennebunk Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce has been selected to receive funds in the amount of $345,000. Rural Development funds were used to purchase the land & buildings at 16 Water Street in Kennebunk, which will be used as the Chambers office and a place where visitors can obtain information and brochures about the area. The facility is centrally located in town and will better serve the community, the organizations mission, and help to expand their programs.
- Kennebec Montessori School, Inc. has been selected to receive funds in the amount of $238,000. Rural Development funds are being used to construct an addition to the Kennebec Montessori School located at 38 Sheridan Drive in Fairfield. (A Community Facilities Loan in the amount of $700,000 was previously awarded for this project in December of 2016.) This funding is previously announced.
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, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. 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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 54 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/me.