United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh announced last week that USDA is investing $1 billion to build and improve critical community facilities in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities. Tennessee Rural Development State Director Arlisa Armstrong is pleased to announce more than $32 million in loans and grants will be invested in rural Tennessee.
“Our commitment to help rural Tennessee build back better is vital to the quality-of-life for the residents we serve,” Armstrong said. “Today’s investments will help our rural communities with improvements to schools, essential services, and first responder vehicles and equipment.”
Bronaugh highlighted 731 projects that USDA is making in five programs that will fund essential community services to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. These programs include Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Technical Assistance Training Grants, Community Facilities Disaster Grants, and Economic Impact Initiative Grants. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals and clinics and help fund other essential community facilities. Bronaugh underscored the critical role that Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, had in fighting for additional funding for the Community Facilities Direct Loans, which made many of these investments in critical rural infrastructure possible.
• Wayne County is receiving an $87,500 Community Facilities Grant to furnish the county’s agriculture building with various furnishing and equipment. Specifically, the grant funds will be sued to install bleachers, furnish a conference room, and purchase commercial grade kitchen equipment. This addition to the county will ensure the agriculture program flourishes for many years by providing an array of educational events for all ages.
• Perry County Government is receiving a $250,000 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to purchase Public Works, Law Enforcement and Water Rescue equipment items. The equipment items will be used to improve the basic needs of the community and improve the quality of life for residents and tourists of the county.
• Humphreys County is receiving a $23,813,515 Community Facilities Direct Loan to finance the construction of a new high school located in McEwen, Tenn. The new facility will be a two story, masonry building approximately 88,000 square feet and have regular classrooms and core spaces to accommodate 700 students. The building will be connected to both the elementary and junior high school with enclosed corridors. The lower-level classroom wing will include a Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room designed to protect everyone on the campus in the event of a tornado. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.