Gainesville, FL, Apr 03, 2012 -- The Obama Administration recognizes that building and repairing infrastructure is critical to economic stability and growth and has made historic investments in water and waste water facilities. From Immokalee in Florida’s southwest region, north to the southwestern shore of Lake Okeechobee, USDA Rural Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein saw firsthand how USDA Rural Development is helping rural communities through financial assistance in critical community infrastructure projects, and making a difference in the economy by spurring job creation in the communities where they are being built.
In Immokalee, Fla., Administrator Adelstein participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Immokalee Water and Sewer District’s $8,357,300 wastewater treatment plant improvement and expansion project, which is being financed by a $4,932,000 loan and $3,425,300 in grants through the Recovery Act. The project, which is located in eastern Collier County, includes expansion of the existing wastewater treatment plant capacity and construction of a force main to expand the transmission system to provide sewer services to communities in the western portion of the service area, adding approximately 142 families and businesses to the system. The project will create up to 122 direct jobs in the construction phase, boosting the local economy.
In Hendry County, Administrator Adelstein visited the site of the City of LaBelle’s soon-to-be constructed reverse osmosis water treatment plant. Funded by a Rural Development $10 million loan and a $5.2 million grant, the project will replace the current plant, which is over 30 years old, often fails to meet disinfection by product regulation requirements and has experienced under capacity issues on numerous occasions. The new plant will allow an additional 150 families to connect to the system, for a total of 2,154 families and businesses receiving this essential service.
Further north in Glades County and situated on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, the City of Moore Haven is celebrating completion of Phase I of a water system improvement project. Administrator Adelstein joined city officials and area residents in marking completion of the project with a dedication ceremony. Rural Development awarded a $4.4 million loan for the first phase of the project, which includes additional ground storage, a service pump station and a new ultra-filtration system. The project will result in improved water quality for approximately 1,000 families and businesses.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/fl.