Custer, Mar 20, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks and staff were on-site for the grand opening of the transformed Custer County Courthouse.
“The Custer County Courthouse is a better place for all of the County employees to work,” said Meeks. “These upgrades will increase energy efficiency and the facility will be handicapped accessible. Sustainable green building and development practices are key components of President Obama and his administration’s goals. The President has been a strong advocate to ensure that rural communities in South Dakota and across the nation receive essential funding so that these communities are built to last.”
The existing courthouse was built in 1971. There were only five windows in the previous courthouse facility and none of the windows were capable of egress in an emergency situation. The un-insulated building was showing evidence of moisture problems due to inadequate drainage, lacked adequate restrooms, and the courthouse was not handicapped accessible in all areas. The addition provides needed space, constructed with safety and security features and compliant with the 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Custer County Courthouse was awarded federal funding for the addition with assistance from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funding through a USDA Rural Development Community Facility Program Direct Loan in the amount of $5,271,000. A ground breaking was held last July 2010 and today, the public can tour the newly transformed facility.
USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.
USDA, under its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $134 billion in loans and loan guarantees.