Oklahoma Benefits When USDA Invests $222 Million in Rural Community InfrastructureFri, 19 Nov 2021 14:21:55 CST
United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is investing $222 million to build and improve critical community facilities in 44 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. This community infrastructure funding will benefit nearly 2.5 million people in rural communities. It also includes $132 million to support health care, food security, and emergency response services for more than 850,000 rural residents in 37 states.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on its promise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild our economy,” Torres Small said. “Rural Americans need emergency response, hospitals and medical facilities, and USDA’s loans and grants invest in critical infrastructure to make that possible. USDA Rural Development puts rural people at the forefront of investment and opportunity to help us all build back better, stronger, and more resilient.”
USDA is investing in 536 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The assistance will fund essential community services that will help keep rural America resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals and clinics; and combat food insecurity.
Projects in Oklahoma include:
• Central Public Schools will use a $48,300 grant to purchase a 2022 71-passenger school bus and a lawnmower. This investment will benefit the students with a safe vehicle for transportation to and from school events and equipment to improve the maintenance of the school property.
• City of Comanche will use a $28,300 grant to help with construction of two, fully accessible, restrooms at two separate cultural event locations. The restrooms at both locations were constructed in the 60's. This investment will benefit citizens attending events at these locations.
• Smithville Public Schools will use a $39,700 grant to purchase a truck, two heat pump systems and 20 laptops. The truck will provide a safe mode of transportation for the Vocational Agriculture students and staff. The energy efficient heat pumps will provide savings to the school district. The laptops will provide students better access to information and additional opportunities to further their education.
• Smithville Public Schools will use a $50,000 grant to install roofs on three school buildings. The music and science building, cafeteria building, and elementary building all received hail damage. Roof replacement is necessary to provide decent and safe buildings for staff and students attending Smithville Public Schools.
• Haworth Public Schools will use a $50,000 grant to purchase a new 71-passenger school bus. Haworth Public Schools has a nine-bus fleet and plan to replace the oldest bus in the fleet which will help lower bus maintenance expenses and increase the safety of their students.
• Atoka County will use a $20,800 grant to update the security system and cameras in the Atoka County law enforcement building. The county will also purchase eight tactical vests to replace the older versions currently worn by the officers. This investment will improve the safety of the officers and enhance its ability to provide public safety to the citizens of Atoka County and the City of Atoka.
• Boswell Public School will use a $50,000 grant to make improvements at the Boswell Public Schools campus. They will install HVAC units, replace flooring, install water fountains, and purchase a new vehicle. This project will allow the schools to provide new water fountains, some capable of filling bottles. Air quality will be improved by replacing HVAC units and replacing old carpet will provide a cleaner environment.
• Haworth Public Schools will use a $50,000 grant to purchase technology equipment for Haworth Public Schools. They do not have enough laptops for all the students and the printers in the computer lab are not working. This investment will help update the computer lab. They plan to purchase 50 desktop computers, 71 Chromebooks, two printers and one TV for use in instructing classes.
The investments announced today will support community infrastructure projects in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.
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.
Today’s investments complement the recently announced funding availability under USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, which also is being administered through the Community Facilities program. Through this program, USDA is making up to $500 million available through the American Rescue Plan to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services and nutrition assistance.
Under the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended.
Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants for a detailed overview of the application process.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas.
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