New Schools, Libraries, Health Clinics and Public Safety Equipment Will Benefit More Than 600,000 People and Help Communities Thrive
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced that USDA is investing $65 million to improve critical community facilities (PDF, 154 KB) to benefit more than 600,000 rural residents in 14 states, including Washington State.
“Access to modern community facilities and essential services is critical for growth and prosperity in rural communities,” Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner with rural communities to provide essential services, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is funding 38 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The investments can be used for purposes such as to build or upgrade schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. For example in Washington State, Eastmont Metropolitan Park District will use a $642.500 Community Facilities Direct Loan to purchase the Living Room Church on Georgia Avenue in East Wenatchee. The plan is to turn the facility into a community center and expand Eastmont Parks and Recreation programming. This will include a kitchen for cooking and nutrition classes, fitness classes, expansion of the art programs, senior activities, family game and movie
nights, rentable banquet/meeting space, some indoor sports, and language classes will be offered.
Besides Washington State, Brand announced projects today in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For example:
- Sioux Center Health in Iowa will use a $25 million loan to expand its clinic and senior-living facilities. The clinic will add 18 exam rooms, a family practice and support space for specialty physicians. A Main Street addition will be built to include a kitchen, dining room, café, salon, bank, post office and theater area. The nursing facility will add 32 units. The assisted-living facility will update garages and common areas, add a new main entrance, and add 24 assisted-living and 16 memory-care units.
- The city of Martin, Tenn., will use a $6.5 million loan to build a state-of-the-art library. The library will include open Wi-Fi, children’s centers and technology areas. It will also have space to host conferences, concerts, meetings and private events.
- Blue Ridge Montessori Inc. in Bedford County, Va., will use a $3 million loan to build a 13,565-square-foot school. It will have nine classrooms, administrative offices, a library with a computer lab, a science lab, a teacher’s lounge and multiple storage areas.
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.
Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB), a detailed overview of the application process.
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. 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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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