USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary, Doug O’Brien, visited Gays Mills Village, today to see firsthand the many improvements the area has undergone since floods from the Kickapoo River ravaged the region in 2008. O’Brien toured the community center, fire department and the new residential and commercial district, all of which benefitted from USDA funding.
“USDA, along with other federal, State and local entities, is proud to have partnered with the residents of Gays Mills as they worked to rebuild and relocate their community,” said O’Brien. “Seeing the recovery that has taken place is a testament to the determination and perseverance of members of this village.”
USDA Rural Development awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to help businesses in the flood plain of the Kickapoo River to relocate. In addition, USDA awarded the Redevelopment Authority of the Village of Gays Mills a Community Facilities Loan for the relocation and construction of a village community center located in the new central business district.
The community center houses the village offices, library, a community incubator kitchen, meeting room, an office for the commercial district manager and facilities for a farmer's market. USDA also awarded two Community Facilities Disaster Assistance Grants to the community. One was used to purchase a pumper truck for the village fire department; and another grant helped purchase a pick-up truck with a plow. Additionally, Gays Mills received a Water and Waste Disposal grant for water system improvements and relocation of utility operations.
While in the area, O’Brien also visited the Wormfarm Institute, a non-profit organization, working to build a sustainable future for agriculture and the arts by fostering links between people and the land. To promote the development of a strong, indigenous culture, the Wormfarm Institute creates, sponsors and hosts exhibits, performances and projects that engage the surrounding community, and utilize the talents of local artists.
Over the past year, USDA Rural Development invested $558 million throughout rural Wisconsin and helped a record number of residents receive funding for economic development projects and quality of life improvements. The agency’s investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain an estimated 2,000 jobs; aided 2,900 families in buying their own homes; and assisted more than 200 communities in improving community facilities and upgrading local infrastructure.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 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.
To learn more about Rural Development, visit our website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.
For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 733-8642
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