USDA invests $266 million to aid rural facilities (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Terry Rosta is an acting state director with Virginia Rural Development.)
USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson recently announced that the USDA is investing $266 million to build and improve critical community facilities to benefit nearly 3 million rural residents in 16 states and Puerto Rico.
This funding includes $156 million to support health-care-related improvements and emergency response services that will benefit nearly 1 million rural residents in nine states and Puerto Rico.
“The Biden-Harris administration has made beating the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring the economy a top-priority, and USDA is playing a critical role,” Maxson said. “USDA Rural Development programs and services are in a unique position to help rural communities facing challenges caused by the pandemic.
The investments will spur community development and build sound infrastructure like hospitals and medical facilities to help rural America build back better and stronger.”
The USDA is investing in 41 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program.
The assistance will fund a variety of essential community services, including emergency response vehicles and equipment.
These investments are going to Virginia, as well as Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Puerto Rico. These seven projects in Virginia impacts the lives of 61,402 rural Virginians:
• Greensville County will receive a $1,146,200 loan to purchase a custom built 2021 E-1 ladder fire truck for the Greensville Fire Department. The new truck will have a 115-foot ladder and will replace a 25-year-old truck with only a 75-foot ladder. The department provides fire protection services for Greensville County and the city of Emporia.
• The Town of Blackstone will receive a $78,000 loan and a $75,000 grant that will be used to purchase a 2021 sanitation vehicle. One of the town’s three trucks has reached the end of its useful life and is incurring expensive repairs. This investment will benefit 3,621 people.
• A second investment in the Town of Blackstone includes a loan of $52,000 and a grant of $75,000 that will be used to purchase a 2021 dump truck. The town currently maintains four dump trucks, two of which plow snow and spread salt and sand during the winter. Most of the fleet are old and unreliable. This investment will also benefit 3,621 people.
• The Town of Blackstone will also receive a third investment that will also be used to purchase a 2021 dump truck. The town currently maintains four dump trucks, two of which are used to plow snow and spread salt during the winter. Most trucks in the fleet are old and unreliable. This investment includes a loan of $52,000 and a grant of $75,000 and will also benefit 3,621 people.
• Richmond County will receive a $35,000 loan and a $21,000 grant that will be used to purchase two law enforcement vehicles. The county has four high-mileage cars that require costly repairs. This investment will benefit 9,254 people.
• The Richmond County Volunteer Fire Department Inc. will receive a $375,000 loan and a $75,000 grant that will be used to purchase a fire truck with a 3,000-gallon capacity, specifically designed to haul water to rural areas. The truck will replace a 32-year-old tanker that has reached the end of its serviceable life. This investment will also benefit 9,254 people.
• The Russell County Public Service Authority will receive a $97,700 loan and a $75,000 grant that will be used to purchase a 2021 dump truck. The town currently maintains four dump trucks, two of which are used to plow snow and spread salt during the winter. Most trucks in the fleet are old and unreliable. 28,897 people will benefit from this investment.
• The Town of Exmore will receive a loan of $19,000 and a grant of $54,000 that will be used to purchase a used street sweeper to maintain the town’s streets. The applicant currently had a street sweeper that caught on fire and was taken out of service. The applicant has been without a street sweeper for 18 months. This investment will benefit 1,460 people.
We congratulate these rural areas of Virginia. Community residents are encouraged to explore these new local resources. 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 a USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details.