USDA Partners to Improve Infrastructure for 3 Rural Michigan Communities

EAST LANSING, Oct. 9, 2018 – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture State Director for Michigan Jason Allen today announced infrastructure projects for three rural Michigan communities. 

    They are part of a $181 million investment in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states.

   “Infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity in small towns across our country,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to building prosperity in rural America through modern infrastructure.”

   Hazlett announced the funding during a forum co-sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation. USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries and day care centers. 

   “What stands out is the geographic reach as well as the diversity of projects,” Allen said.  “From improved fire protection to community building and strengthening education, USDA is there to help.” 

   Michigan recipients are:

  • Lake Superior Academy, in Chippewa County, will use a $140,000 loan to construct a classroom addition, expanding the instructional area.  By 2022, the building is expected to serve about 100 students a year. Previously, Rural Development awarded a $265,000 Community Facilities Loan. The State of Michigan is also providing $575,000 for the project.
  • Blue Water Community Action, in St. Clair County, will use a $1.5 million loan to purchase a former college facility, located in Port Huron. Blue Water Community Action will relocate its main office and early childhood classrooms to the building.  The project will serve an area with 10,654 residents. Additional funding includes $320,551 from Head Start and $147,687 in applicant contributions.
  • Jefferson Township, in Hillsdale County, will use a $561,000 loan to construct a replacement fire building.  The new building will be centrally located, reducing response times in a community of 3,100.  The building will include truck bays, an office and a training room.   

   More than 100 types of projects are eligible for 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. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million. 

   The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic(PDF, 190 KB). 

   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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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