On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a lengthy list of USDA-backed projects in rural communities.
“These projects will bring lasting improvements that are essential to maintaining strong rural economies and vibrant communities as we work to win the future,” said Vilsack. “Preserving the infrastructure in rural areas is one of many ways that USDA assistance helps create and retain jobs.”
The list of USDA investments includes 49 projects in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
“Nearly $70 million in USDA funding is being provided – loans of almost $68 million and grants of a bit less than $1 million,” said Vilsack. “This resource is helping the leverage an additional $46 million in public and private financing.”
As small towns and communities struggle, “oftentimes it’s USDA resources – a loan guarantee, a loan, a grant – that allows projects to proceed.
“These projects are designed to improve quality of life. If you can improve a healthcare facility, you’re likely to save a life. If you can improve a school, you’re likely to better educate a child. If you can provide an assisted-living facility, you’re able to keep families intact. If you’re able to encourage stronger police and fire protection, you’re securing people in their homes and businesses more effectively resulting in lower costs for fire insurance and things of that nature.”
Vilsack claimed a “multitude of reasons” why the projects are important. “Obviously, we’ll be careful with investing these dollars. That’s why the leveraging aspect of this is so important. It’s not just the federal government – it’s really the federal government in partnership with state and local governments and the private sector coming together in a partnership to try and improve quality of life.”
Asked specifically about the pair of Arkansas projects USDA is backing, Vilsack said theArkansas Methodist Hospital Corporation “needed assistance to purchase an additional ambulance and equipment for the Rector Ambulance Substation. So, they’re being provided a $50,000 grant. The applicant is putting up $83,500. So, this is a good example of the ‘leveraging’ I talked about earlier.”
Meanwhile, east Arkansas’ St. Francis County Community Development Corporation is constructing a 40-bed assisted-living facility. “To do that they needed a $4.5 million loan which, by itself, was not sufficient to build the facility. An additional $2 million was secured by the project. So, this is actually a $6.5 million project.
“Obviously, when you’re constructing a new facility, you’re putting people to work in that community. When you’re purchasing an ambulance and equipment, you’re obviously benefiting the companies that (manufacture both) and hopefully create, and retain, jobs.”
According to a USDA press release project funding “is contingent upon borrowers meeting conditions in the funding agreement.”
• Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. Renovations to food bank; $327,000 loan.
• Arkansas Methodist Hospital Corp. Purchase a new ambulance and equipment for the Rector Ambulance Substation; $50,000 grant.
• St. Francis County Community Development Corp. Construct a 40-bed, assisted-living facility; $4,525,000 loan.
• Penn Valley Fire Protection District. Purchase a pumper with enclosed cab seating; $237,568 loan.
• Private Industry Council of Butte County, Inc. Purchase a building for research/training; $2,850,000 loan.
• Hayfork Fire Protection District. Construct an engine barn; $43,700 grant.
• Rural Communities Resource Center. Purchase and renovate building and equipment; $140,000 loan; $10,000 grant.
• Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado. Purchase a facility for administrative staff; $147,500 loan; $50,000 grant.
• Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center. Construct a medical office building; $1,867,500 guaranteed loan.
• City of Payette. Build an addition onto the existing library; $1,100,000 loan; $80,000 grant.
• Van Buren County Hospital. Construct a child-care and community services center; $744,000 loan.
• Lucas County. Construct and purchase an E911 radio communications tower and equipment; $23,450 grant.
• City of Grand River. Purchase city equipment; $9,450 grant.
• City of McLeansboro. Replace leaking roof on the public library and tuck point bricks; $30,000 grant.
• Hospice of Hope, Inc. Construct a 29,687-square-foot assisted-living facility and an 18,543-square-foot inpatient facility for the terminally ill; $3,000,000 loan.
• Foothills Academy, Inc. Purchase computers/transport vehicle for at-risk youth; $100,000 grant.
• Katahdin Valley Health Center. Construct a dental clinic; $1,800,000 guaranteed loan.
• The LifeFlight Foundation/Washington County. Construct an automated weather observing system station to assist with emergency medical helicopters; $8,750 grant.
• The LifeFlight Foundation/Aroostook County. Construct an automated weather observing system station to assist with emergency medical helicopters; $8,250 grant.
• The LifeFlight Foundation/Carrabassett Valley. Construct an automated weather observing system station to assist with emergency medical helicopters; $10,500 grant.
• Wellfleet Preservation Hall. Renovate and rehabilitate an historic church building into a community center; $600,000 loan; $50,000 grant.
• Baldwin Family Health Center. Construct a health care facility that will replace two buildings; $1,835,000 loan.
• City of Clearbrook. Replace the roof, window, doors and add insulation to a community building; $227,000 loan.
• Northern Pines Medical Center. Construct a clinic and remodel part of a hospital; $7,500,000 guaranteed loan; $2,500,000 direct loan.
• Wolverines School Supporters. Building repairs/construction; $421,350 loan; $20,000 grant.
• Fordland Clinic, Inc. Purchase equipment, fixtures, and furniture; $160,000 guaranteed loan.
• Steelville Volunteer Firefighters. Purchase a lot and construct a new fire station; $284,000 loan.
• SE MO Network Against Sexual Violence. Purchase and rehabilitate a building to house a child advocacy center; $300,000 loan.
• CAPstone. Develop new space for a child advocacy center; $120,000 loan.
• Memorial Community Health, Inc. Construct a new emergency department and trauma rooms; renovate the cafeteria, replace nursing home; $2,250,000 guaranteed loan; $2,250,000 direct loan.
• Gothenburg Memorial Hospital, Inc. Construct a new clinic; $2,500,000 loan, $500,000 guaranteed loan.
• Elizabethtown-Lewis Emergency Squad, Inc. Purchase a new ambulance; $40,000 loan and $30,000 grant.
• Keuka College. Purchase and install new computer software; $2,000,000 loan.
• Village of Norwood. Complete village hall renovations; $158,000 loan.
• Town of Portland. Purchase a snow plow; $145,000 loan.
• Town of Troupsburg. Purchase an ambulance; $83,000 loan; $25,000 grant.
• Seneca County. Renovate the courthouse; $5,000,000 loan.
• Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18. Renovate the existing classroom building; $4,000,000 loan.
• Youngstown Volunteer Fire Department and Relief Association. Purchase a combination rescue-service truck; $300,000 loan; $50,000 grant.
• Conyngham Township. Purchase a police vehicle; $14,000 grant.
• Municipality of Vega Baja. Construct a library; $3,500,000 loan.
• Academy for Teaching and Learning of the Chester County School District. Purchase an existing 38,880-square-foot building; $2,100,000 guaranteed loan
• New Destiny Center, Inc. Purchase and renovate residential group boys' home; $344,000 loan.
• Bethany Lutheran Home for the Aged, Inc. Construct a partial replacement nursing facility; $7,750,000 guaranteed loan; $2,500,000 direct loan.
• Bremond Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Construct a fire station; $20,000 grant.
• Manti City. Install an elevator for city hall building; $17,196 grant.
• Middle Peninsula Regional Airport Authority. Construct a hangar for the LifeEvac helicopter; $716,000 loan; $50,000 grant.
• McDowell County Commission/Ambulance Authority. Purchase a new ambulance; $78,750 grant.
• City of Mineral Point. Renovate an existing library; $1,000,000 loan; $100,000 grant.