The USDA has released a report highlighting the ways in which infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development.
"Quality hospitals, schools and libraries are the building blocks for a vibrant rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today's announcement illustrates how the Obama administration is leveraging Rural Development's investments to ensure that rural communities can compete in the global economy."
Since the start of fiscal year 2009, Rural Development's Community Facilities Program has helped more than 37 million rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.
For example, thousands of families in Missouri depend on the care provided by Macon County Samaritan Memorial Hospital. Unfortunately, the existing hospital had no private patient rooms, and its surgical rooms did not meet current standards. USDA Rural Development provided a direct and guaranteed loan to finance the construction of a new health care facility and renovate existing hospital space. The hospital employs 215 full-time employees and provides critical health care services to a primary service area of almost 16,000 residents in northeast Missouri.
Vilsack also announced that 38 Community Facilities investments in 21 states are being awarded today to continue the administration's commitment to help create jobs and improve the economy.
For example, in Arizona, the Cibecue Community Education Board, Inc. is being awarded a $50,000 grant to purchase a used 20-foot cargo van that will be converted into a bookmobile for the school and community. The van will be equipped with shelving, books, computer, printer, generator and supplies. The community library closed in 2010. The bookmobile will enable the school to provide the K-8th grade, high school students, and adult community access to a library and restore the literacy program that once benefited the community. Cibecue is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program supports essential infrastructure and services for public use in rural areas of 20,000 in population or less. Financing for Community Facilities projects covers a broad range of interests, including healthcare, education, public safety and public services. There are three major Community Facilities Programs: Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs, Community Facilities Grants, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.