Barre, VT, Feb 24, 2014 -- United States Department of Agriculture officials were joined by Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, staff from Vermont's Congressional Delegation, Barre City officials, members of the Barre community, and others Monday at the Barre City Public Safety Building to announce a $24,400 grant to install an exhaust system in the facility. The new funding is the first USDA grant Barre has received since a new Farm Bill, which reauthorized the grant program, was signed into law. The previous Farm Bill, in effect since 2008, enabled USDA to invest more than $23 million in Barre in the past six years.
"Whether it be investing in public infrastructure such as this new exhaust system, a home for a family, or providing funding for a business, USDA is an integral cog in the machine of Barre's forward momentum," said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. "The newly enacted Farm Bill will help USDA Rural Development continue to support Barre, and other rural communities, knowing that these investments produce vibrant and safe places to live and work."
"The City of Barre is very grateful to receive this grant award from the USDA," said Barre City Manager Steven Mackenzie. "I see first-hand the critical role grants play in assisting municipalities to provide services and infrastructure for their constituencies. The UDSA has been a strong and pro-active partner with the City of Barre with its grant assistance over the years."
The new grant for the Public Safety Building will complement $20,109 of Barre's own investment in the new exhaust system. The system ensures that volatile fumes from fire trucks and ambulances housed in the facility do not cause harm to the building occupants – including city employees in adjacent offices. The new system is replacing a troubled system that has failed in past years.
"As a lifelong Barre resident, I've seen firsthand the positive impact of USDA Rural Development's investments on my community," said Lt. Governor Phil Scott. "This latest grant for the Barre City Public Safety Building continues USDA's tradition of support, and my sincere thanks go out to all the members of Congress who fought so hard for the new Farm Bill that is making this all possible. The future of Barre looks bright and I am proud to call it home."
"This investment deserves notice not only for the help it brings to Barre's public safety building, but for the larger investment it represents for the Granite City," said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "The tremendous resources USDA has brought to the table to make Barre a great place to live, work or visit are cause for celebration."
"USDA Rural Development's investments in Barre have made a huge difference for the people of this city," stated Senator Bernie Sanders. "From improvements to City Hall, to helping Community Action with their headquarters, to helping families buy affordable housing, USDA Rural Development has provided critical assistance to Barre City."
"USDA Rural Development continues to deliver for Vermont communities like Barre," said Representative Peter Welch. "USDA investments, like this one to support safety measures at the Public Safety Building, provide tangible improvements to our towns and cities. After a hard fight in Congress, we now have a new Farm bill that will continue to invest in the future of Barre -- and Vermont."
During Monday's news conference, Brady unveiled a list of USDA Rural Development investments in Barre City and Barre Town made possible in large part due to the 2008 Farm Bill. The list, including investments in city infrastructure, Barre-area non-profit organizations, Barre businesses, and families, totaled $23,232,677.
Some of the investments included a new roof for City Hall, police cruisers, improvements at the Good Samaritan Haven Shelter, construction of the new Central Vermont Community Action Headquarters, improvements at ReSource, and loans and loan guarantees to multiple businesses. More than $18 million of the total went towards helping families buy their homes in and around Barre City, either through Rural Development's direct home loan and grant program or through a guarantee program delivered by private lenders that enables homeowners to finance 100 percent of a home's value.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted that the investment made in the Barre City Public Safety Building is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. 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.
USDA RD administers and manages housing, business, and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. For more information on USDA RD or the Community Facilities Program visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.