Champaign, Mar 05, 2012 -- Contact: Mary Warren: (217) 403-6218
USDA Seeks Applications For Economic Development Funding
To Create Jobs In Rural Areas
Champaign, Ill., March 5, 2012 – USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced today that USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development.
“President Obama emphasized in his recent State of the Union address that we need to continue to do more to create jobs to sustain the current economic recovery,” Tonsager said. “With the loans and grants we are making available, USDA Rural Development will work closely with cooperatives and utilities that in turn help local businesses access capital and technical assistance.
“Our support leverages additional private investments and demonstrates the positive impact that public-private partnerships can have on rural communities and economies.”
“Our partnership with cooperatives and utilities helps us extend our capacity to help rural Illinois businesses,” Colleen Callahan, state director for Rural Development in Illinois. “Electric cooperatives, much like Rural Development, are committed to community development in rural areas, and eight Illinois electric cooperatives that serve 63 counties are currently using Rural Development funds to support local business projects.
The funding is being provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Through this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utility cooperatives which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses at zero interest. The money must be used for projects that retain and create jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery or improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors. Grants can be used to create revolving loan programs for local businesses. The maximum amount of funding for any one project is $1,000,000 for loans and $300,000 for grants.
Many Illinois organizations have used REDLG funds to support job creation directly and indirectly. Earlier this year 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. The 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 jobs.
Last year Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative received funding from the same program to help with the construction of CCI Redi-Mix’s new 4,800 square foot plant near Mattoon. The 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.
USDA plans to award up to $33 million in loans and $10 million in grants under this notice and has an additional $46 million in loan funding available from previous fiscal years for a total of $79 million in loan funding. The deadline for submitting applications is the last business day of each month during FY 2012. Applications must be submitted to the Rural Development state office where the project will be located. A list of these offices is available on the USDA Rural Development web site, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html, or on page 12792 of the March 2 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-02/pdf/2012-5043.pdf.
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 and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).