Funding is part of $243 Million Announcement that Benefits Facilities in 22 States
Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $243 million in 50 rural community facility projects in 22 states.
“Rural communities represent a wealth of opportunity,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is a partner in bringing those opportunities to life – whether attracting jobs, accessing additional capital, or improving the quality of life in these towns through access to modern community services.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “Investing in community infrastructure is essential to supporting thriving rural Maine communities. Assisting rural schools and municipal infrastructure to deliver quality services helps make rural communities great places to live.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The recently passed 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
Two community facilities in Maine have been selected to receive a total of $2.5 million under this announcement:
New England Music Camp Association, in Sidney, has been selected to receive a Community Facility Direct Loan in the amount of $1,846,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to upgrade the infrastructure at the “Bowl in the Pines” amphitheater. A foundation, seating, concessions and bathrooms will be built for the amphitheater. (It was built in 1930 and is slowly sliding into the lake behind it.) Funds also will be used to make the venue accessible to people with disabilities.
The Town of Mechanic Falls has been selected to receive a Community Facility Direct Loan in the amount of $724,500. Funds will be used to purchase a building for the town of Mechanic Falls' municipal offices. The offices are currently housed in a 100-year-old high school on the outskirts of town. The building does not meet the community's needs and is inaccessible to people with disabilities. The renovated building will house the town office, police department, town library and a community gathering space.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding, such as schools, health care facilities, libraries and infrastructure improvements. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million. For more information, please contact Robert Nadeau, Community Programs Director at (207) 990-9121 or Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projects are being announced today in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
In April, Hazlett said USDA will prioritize investments to address the opioid crisis in rural communities. In the Community Facilities Grant Program rural communities, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes can apply through the usual Community Facilities grant application process for grants up to $150,000 for innovative projects such as mobile treatment clinics. Community Facilities grants may fund up to 75 percent of an eligible project.
Last year, 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, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
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 (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
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.