Washington, May 31, 2012 -- Contact:
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Secretary Vilsack Releases Report Highlighting Obama Administration Accomplishments Supporting Rural Communities
Events Being Held Nationwide Today To Showcase Successful Healthcare, Education and Public Safety Investments; New Projects Announced in 21 States
WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report highlighting the ways in which infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development, and he announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.
“Quality hospitals, schools and libraries are the building blocks for a vibrant rural America,” said Vilsack. "Today’s announcement illustrates how the Obama Administration is leveraging Rural Development’s investments to ensure that rural communities can compete in the global economy.”
Since the start of fiscal year 2009, Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program has helped more than 37 million rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.
For example, in Wisconsin, the City of Black River Falls completed their upgrades on a century-old dam with a $5 million Community Facilities Direct loan. Improvements include the reconstruction of the gated spillway, reducing the number of tainter gates from eight to six larger gates, reconstruction of a non-overflow section, a concrete patching program, replacement of a retaining wall, and installation of a hydroelectric unit that increases the generated energy from 8 percent to 11 percent of the community’s need.
“Not only does Black River Falls have improved electrical capacity and a more modern facility, this project sends the message that leaders of this community have an eye on the future. Improvements to the infrastructure mean economic expansion, business growth and a more vibrant community,” said USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski.
To find out how the Community Facilities Program is making a difference in your state, click here.
Vilsack also announced that 38 Community Facilities investments in 21 states are being awarded today to continue the Administration’s commitment to help create jobs and improve the economy. For a complete list of awards announced today, please click here.
For example, in Arizona, the Cibecue Community Education Board, Inc. is being awarded a $50,000 grant to purchase a used 20-foot cargo van that will be converted into a bookmobile for the school and community. The van will be equipped with shelving, books, computer, printer, generator and supplies. The community library closed in 2010. The bookmobile will enable the school to provide the K-8th grade, high school students, and adult community access to a library and restore the literacy program that once benefited the community. Cibecue is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program supports essential infrastructure and services for public use in rural areas of 20,000 in population or less. Financing for Community Facilities projects covers a broad range of interests, including healthcare, education, public safety and public services. There are three major Community Facilities Programs: Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs, Community Facilities Grants, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
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 active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable 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.
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).