Washington, D.C., Apr 21, 2011 -- Local Contact:
Dawn Knepp (717) 237-2286
Jay Fletcher (202) 690-0498
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Community Projects, Health Care and Education to Improve Quality of Life in Rural America
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects to improve the quality of life in rural communities across the country.
“USDA’s support for these projects reflects our commitment to ensuring that rural communities can create jobs, attract businesses and provide necessary services to their residents,” Vilsack said. “USDA Rural Development continues to work with rural communities to help them develop quality health care services, modern library facilities and school buildings, and reliable first responder equipment and services to ensure that people who live in rural areas have access to critical infrastructure.”
The 135 projects in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific are being financed through $234 million in loans and grants from USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program. Eligible projects include essential community facilities for public use in rural areas such as fire protection, safety, health care, education and many other community needs.
In New Mexico, the EMW Gas Association has been selected for a $5 million loan to expand natural gas distribution to rural residents of Torrance County in the central part of the state. EMW plans to build 29 miles of steel, high-pressured gas pipeline. The construction will provide service to rural customers who currently lack natural gas.
The Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania has been selected for a $2.5 million loan to expand and renovate the emergency department and improve the heating, ventilation and cooling system. Currently, the hospital, which is located in rural Coudersport, Pa., has an open emergency room area and poor ventilation. The renovations will add private emergency rooms, update the facility and provide consistent heating and air conditioning.
The M.O.T. Charter School, Inc., in New Castle, Del., has been selected for a $2.8 million Rural Development loan to expand its existing facility by 19,000 square feet. A new wing will include a library, two additional classrooms, a lobby, a multi-purpose area, a booster room, and bathrooms.
Through the years, Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program has been a vital funding source for many rural communities. For example, in 2010, Rural Development awarded a Recovery Act direct loan and a Recovery Act grant to the Dillon County School Facilities Corporation in South Carolina to finance new construction or renovations for schools in three school districts. The funding is leveraged with $7.5 million from other sources. Dillon County will use the funds to construct a new pre-kindergarten through second grade facility in Latta and a new middle school near Dillon, as well as to renovate and expand an existing high school in Lake View. These new and upgraded facilities will serve more than 4,000 students.
A complete list of projects that were selected for funding in Pennsylvania is below. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
• Charles Cole Memorial Hospital – $2,500,000 direct loan to expand and renovate the emergency department
• Fairfield Township – $45,000 direct loan to purchase a tractor/mower
• Beccaria Township – $135,000 direct loan and $50,000 grant to construct a municipal building
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of approximately 110 employees located in 11 offices throughout Pennsylvania. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237-2299 or visit its website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/pa.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).