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USDA Rural Development Provides Loan Guarantee to Assist in Restoration of Historic Fort Henry Building

Emily Cannon
Release Date

USDA Secretary Vilsack recently announced that the Department is investing $770 million to help create new and better market opportunities for rural businesses and people in 36 states and Puerto Rico. The investments include $640 million for 122 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. In West Virginia, USDA Rural Development is providing a provide a $5,200,000 Business and Industry Loan Guarantee to Fort Henry, LLC.

“The economic success of rural America has long been the bedrock of our Nation’s economy as a whole,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is prioritizing investment in jobs, businesses, and entrepreneurial opportunities in rural America. The investments we’re announcing today demonstrate how USDA remains committed to helping people in rural America create new and better market opportunities for our country.”

“I’m thrilled USDA Rural Development was able to partner with local stakeholders to ensure the Fort Henry Building, a part of the Wheeling community for more than 170 years, will continue to play a significant role in the city’s economic future,” said Rural Development State Director for West Virginia, Ryan Thorn, “We are advocates for, investors in, and partners to rural communities and rural businesses across the state. This investment highlights USDA Rural Development’s role in strengthening our communities and providing new opportunities in an effort to create a more economically diverse and resilient West Virginia.”

Fort Henry, LLC. will use the USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan in the amount of $5,200,000, to restore the historic Fort Henry building, in Wheeling. The loan guarantee, done in partnership with the lender, Main Street Bank, will be used for renovating half the first, third, and fourth floors. In addition to the guaranteed loan, the building owner invested an additional $1,896,888 in the project. When renovations are complete, the building will house four businesses that employ more than 100 people.

This funding being invested nationwide will help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. It will also help entrepreneurs and business cooperatives create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

For more information on the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, contact West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn at 304-284-4861.


USDA is making 154 investments through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Programs, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

The awards are being made in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

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, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, 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.

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.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.