Champaign, IL, Apr 21, 2011 -- Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Projects to Improve Quality of Life in Rural America
Grants Awarded for Six Illinois Projects
Champaign, Ill., April 21, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects to improve the quality of life in rural communities across the country. Nearly $218,000 will be awarded to Illinois projects in Alexander, Clark, Effingham, Montgomery, Perry and Pulaski counties.
“By helping rural communities preserve and improve their community services, USDA is helping them maintain their quality of life,” USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan said. “When we help to preserve the infrastructure in smaller communities, we make it a better place to live, work, run a business and raise a family.
Illinois projects include a $30,000 grant to Community Health and Emergency Services, Inc. (CHESI) to construct a 120 square foot metal building needed to store an emergency supply of water at their Daystar Care Center. Daystar is an 83-bed skilled nursing home in Cairo in Alexander County. Funds will also be used to replace windows with energy star rated windows and replace the gutters at the nursing home.
Tamaroa in Perry County was selected for a $67,500 grant to completely re-roof the gymnasium portion of the village’s community center. The city purchase the old high school in the late 1980’s and converted it into a community center. The village rents out space in the center for receptions, parties and picnics.
Mounds in Pulaski County will purchase a building that the city will use to house and maintain its vehicles with their $20,250 grant. The new site formerly housed a heating and air-conditioning dealership. Not only is the city’s existing maintenance facility too small, it needs structural and electrical improvements. The new building will give the city enough space to house vehicles, equipment, maintenance area, small office and restroom.
Irving in Montgomery County will use their $31,000 grant to purchase a tractor with a loader and rotary cutter. The village will use the new equipment to mow village-owned properties and roadsides as well as clear snow. The old tractor is too small to perform work needed by the village and required costly maintenance.
Marshall in Clark County will receive a $28,980 grant to renovate the city’s library, including re-roofing a portion of the library and replacing the inside carpet with commercial grade vinyl tile. In addition, funds will be used to purchase a projector, screen and podium that will be used to provide educational programs for children and adults. The library serves 3,771 residents.
The St. Elmo Public Library District will purchase a building for its branch in Beecher City in Effingham County with its $40,000 grant. They moved in January from the former 60 years old library building that needed major repairs to address health hazards and wasn’t accessible. The new location, which they currently rent, required minimal renovations to meet ADA requirements. The district has raised $9,000 toward the purchase of the new space that will provide twice as much room for library materials and activities.
“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.
Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. More information on Rural Development’s Community Facilities Programs is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/IL_CommunityPrograms.html.
Rural Development has more than 40 programs that foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance. Support is available for regional food systems, broadband and biofuel infrastructure, homeownership, business development and community needs. More information on USDA Rural Development programs is available on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il.
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).