$871 million invested in rural community facilities (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Denise Lovelady is the state director of USDA Rural Development, Md., Del.)
The Trump Administration recently announced that the USDA invested $871 million to improve critical community facilities to benefit 3.5 million rural residents in 43 states and Guam.
“Rural America needs safe, modern community infrastructure to help residents and businesses achieve greater prosperity and have access to essential services,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Brand announced essential community projects in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
USDA is funding 256 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. These investments will be for such purposes as to build or upgrade schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. As state director for Delaware and Maryland I am privileged to share with you a few of Rural Development’s investments in Delaware and Maryland:
• In Delaware, the Clear Space Theatre Company will receive a $4,800,000 loan to purchase property and construct a new theatre and rehearsal and education building in downtown Rehoboth Beach. The Theatre Company currently rents a building that is not handicapped accessible and has considerable space constraints for shows, classes and practices. The new theatre will be created specifically with patrons in mind and will allow a better flow before and after performances. This project will affect the region of Kent and Sussex County, although patrons have visited from parts of PA, MD, NJ and Washington, D.C. due to Rehoboth being a summer vacation location.
• Also in Delaware, Connections CSP, Inc., will use a $300,000 loan to renovate a previously funded 23,500 square- foot Withdrawal Management Center. In 2016, Connections completed their facility in Harrington, Del. It provides a residential treatment facility of 16 overnight beds, 12 – 23 hour observation beds and up to 100 slots of partial hospital services which people will use to continue their withdrawal. Patients will receive medical monitoring until they are able to transfer to longer-term treatment and support. The funds will be used to complete repairs to the roof, windows, parking lot and create a new parking lot. The center will also serve Herrington, Kent and Sussex County.
• In Maryland, Friends of the Grape, Inc., located in Denton, will receive a Community Facilities Grant in the amount of $15,950 to purchase a refrigerated van to transport meals to needy children and seniors. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Friends of the Grape, through Caroline County Public Schools, and in partnership with other local government agencies, has been feeding and transporting meals to 1,200 students and 300 senior citizens per day.
The targeted delivery area at this time is the Marydel, Templeville, and Henderson area. This area has been identified as a Food Desert by Johns Hopkins. Currently 15,000 nutritious meals per week are delivered to these three areas of Caroline County, and the route takes 3-4 hours each day to complete. The refrigerated van will allow food to be held at proper temperatures, in order to minimize the risk a food borne illness and will allow for further outreach of service.
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 the USDA Rural Development State Office in Dover for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details by calling 302-857-3580.
Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process on our website https://www.rd.usda.gov/md.
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.