Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million in 119 rural community service facilities in 29 states.
“At USDA, we believe in rural America and in the promise of small towns and the people who call them home,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, we are committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in building healthy, prosperous futures for their communities.”
USDA is supporting these quality-of-life projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Three projects in Indiana have received funding.
- Pulaski County Memorial Hospital is receiving a $11,789,500 loan to allow for the demolition of two sections of existing health clinic facilities, construction of a 24,000-square-foot structure and parking lot, and to upgrade an existing medical office building and hospital including fire protection. The hospital is located in Winamac and serves several surrounding counties in and out of the state. Additional funding is a $1 million Rural Development loan guarantee.
- SMWC Real Estate Foundation, LLC is receiving a $13,897,000 loan to acquire the buildings and land that are currently owned by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The acquisition will allow the college to improve cash flow and to focus plans to grow and to upgrade buildings and facilities. The investment will also assist SMWC to purchase additional land for future housing growth. The school expects to expand its enrollment. This investment will lead to continued economic opportunities in the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and West Terre Haute areas; while saving jobs for the college. Additional funding is a $1 million Rural Development loan guarantee.
- Vermillion Parke Community Health Center is receiving a $2,931,000 loan to enlarge the Valley Professionals Community Health Center in Clinton. The clinic serves the 33,080 residents of Parke and Vermillion counties, including 16,000 residents who live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, are uninsured or underinsured. There are no federally qualified health centers or rural health clinics located in the service area. The project will enlarge the clinic by more than 15,000 square feet and will provide additional space for behavioral health group therapy. An additional 8,500 patients will be served, resulting in 21,000 additional visits. Parke County has the second highest suicide rate in Indiana, with a reported suicide rate of 20.6 percent. Vermillion County has a reported suicide rate of 15.7 percent. Both rates are higher than the state average of 14.2 percent. A behavioral healthcare treatment team will provide a full spectrum of behavioral health services to patients. The Health Resources and Services Administration is providing a $1 million grant for this project.
The projects that are being announced today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for USDA Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.
The 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.