Coles County, IL, Feb 08, 2011 -- Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Projects to Create Jobs and new Economic Opportunities for Rural Residents
WASINGTON, February 8, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 16 projects in 10 states for funding to create jobs and provide new economic opportunities. The projects are being funded through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, which is administered by USDA Rural Development.
“The funding I am announcing today will help rural communities create jobs, support agricultural education, expand access to quality health care and support business development,” Vilsack said. “As the President said in his State of the Union Address last week, these investments plant the seeds of progress for our country, and good-paying, private-sector jobs for the American people as we work to win the future.”
In Illinois, the Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon was selected to receive a $740,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to provide financing that will be used to renovate and modernize the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. USDA Rural Development’s funding will allow the non-profit hospital to purchase essential equipment for the new emergency department and modernize 129,000 square feet of existing space. In addition to ensuring a new standard of care for rural residents in the region, the project is expected to retain more than 1,600 jobs and create 17 new ones.
Last year Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative was selected for funding from the same program. They received a $500,000 loan to help with the construction of CCI Redi-Mix’s new 4,800 square foot plant near Mattoon. The company currently has a plant in Effingham and is using the funding to expand their services to the Mattoon area. The $1.76 million plant will create 20 jobs and provide ready mix concrete for public construction businesses and housing within 30 to 45 minutes of the Mattoon plant.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding to rural projects through local utility organizations. Under the program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. For more information on this program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html.
Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing more than $8.5 million to help rural communities. The loan funds will be leveraged by more than $80 million in private and public financing; while grant funds will be leveraged by more than $54 million in public/private funding.
Rural Development’s programs help to foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance for homeownership, business development, community needs and technology infrastructure. More information on USDA Rural Development is available on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.