Ludowici, Ga., May 18, 2009 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of more than $60 million in essential community facilities and emergency responder projects that are being funded immediately with federal funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 280 projects will help communities in 39 states. “The Recovery Act funds provided today will help support rural communities’ efforts to protect and serve their residents by providing essential public safety services,” said Vilsack. “These projects are the first of many that are expected to create or save more than 1,350 jobs and help rural communities provide expanded access to health care, support first responder efforts, and finance libraries, schools and day care centers.”
Approximately $19 million of the $60 million being announced today will be leveraged with $6.9 million from other sources to help local communities with the purchase of emergency services and systems, and fire and rescue equipment, including more than 120 fire, medical and police vehicles.
All of the funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program, which helps finance and develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include childcare centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through its Community Facilities program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, non- profit organizations, and recognized Indian tribes.
In Keshena, Wis., Rural Development is providing a $100,000 loan and grant to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to renovate the current Emergency Medical Services’ building to provide adequate room for emergency vehicles, equipment and staff. The Emergency Medical Services, which is part of the Menominee Tribal Clinic, provides emergency response and transport capabilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The increased building space will allow all emergency vehicles to be stored on-site and not at a building 10 miles away, ensuring quicker emergency response times.
The Meridianville Volunteer Fire Department in Madison County, Ala., has been selected to receive a $700,000 loan to replace the small, 20-year-old fire station with a new, larger, more centrally located facility. The 25-member volunteer fire department provides emergency fire and medical services to a rural community of 5,000 people. The new, improved facility will provide adequate and secure storage for their existing fire trucks and equipment and provide a community room for first-responder training and public education services for community residents. The new location will have room for expansion as the community’s need for emergency services increase.
Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov .