Lexington, KY, 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.
State Director Tom Fern said there are numerous examples of Community Facilities projects in Kentucky that are having a tremendous impact in rural communities. For example, Kentucky River Community Care is a community mental health provider that serves eight Appalachian counties from the City of Hazard. USDA Rural Development, through a Community Facilities Program grant and loan, provided funds to install a geothermal heating and cooling system to reduce energy consumption and pollution. The system provides heating and cooling services, reduces annual CO2 emissions by an estimated 149 tons, and saves Kentucky River Community Care approximately $22,000 in annual operating costs.
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, thousands of families in Kentucky depend on the care provided by the Russell County Hospital, but the hospital needs to expand in order to provide quality care to the rural residents in one of the state’s persistent poverty counties. USDA Rural Development provided a $21 million direct loan to finance the construction of a new health care facility and expand existing hospital space. The expansion includes construction of a new facility adjacent to the existing one that will centralize areas for emergency medicine, radiology, laboratory testing and surgery and provide more effective and efficient medical services to the community.
“Healthcare is a top priority of the Obama Administration and projects such as the expansion of the Russell County Hospital are a great example of state and federal resources being effectively utilized to improve the lives of rural Kentuckians,” said Fern.
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).