Belmond, Iowa, Apr 22, 2013 -- Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, was in Belmond today to congratulate community leaders on receiving a $5.5 million loan from USDA that will help them make improvements to their wastewater treatment facility. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
The presentation coincides with Earth Day, an annual observation on April 22nd to raise awareness about the role each person can play to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than 195 countries.
USDA Rural Development funds will be used to convert the existing sewage treatment facility into an activated sludge treatment process with a new control building and controls system.
“We are very pleased to be helping with this important project in Belmond that will protect the public’s health and maintain a clean, healthy environment,” Menner said. “The existing system has been in operation for more than 50 years and needs to be improved and expanded to meet the treatment capacity needs of residential and business users.”
Following the presentation to city leaders, State Director Menner toured the recently expanded and remodeled Iowa Specialty Hospital, formerly known as Belmond Medical Center. In 2010, USDA Rural Development awarded a total of $24 million in direct and guaranteed loan funds to assist with the hospital’s expansion and remodeling project. Most of the funding for that project was made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The 22-bed critical access hospital was built in 1952 and was not large enough to meet the healthcare needs of area residents. During the two-year project the hospital constructed a new wing which included a new entrance, emergency room, surgery area, acute-care area, therapy area and helicopter stop, along with remodeled and expanded clinic, specialty clinic and office space.
“Access to high quality health care is an issue of growing concern to many rural communities as the baby boom generation continues to age,” Menner added. “USDA’s investment in these two projects will play a large role in strengthening Belmond and the surrounding area for many years to come.”
About USDA Rural Development
This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,600 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
For more information about finance programs available through USDA Rural Development, please call the office located in Humboldt at (515) 332-4411 Ext. 4 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia. This office serves communities, businesses and residents in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Humboldt, Kossuth, Story, Webster, Winnebago and Wright Counties.
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 a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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