(Columbia, SC) -United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small 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.
South Carolina received over $3.7 million in infrastructure investments which will help rural communities build back better. Many of these investments are health care related and will help our rural communities to be better prepared for, and responsive in, emergency situations that threaten our communities’ overall well-being.Dr. Saundra Glover, State Director of South Carolina Rural Development
For example, in South Carolina:
- Calhoun County will use a $50,000 grant to purchase equipment to update the John Ford Community Center in St. Matthews. Equipment to be purchased includes restroom finishing’s, interior glass doors, tables and chairs. The needed equipment upgrades will allow the county to serve residents within the community.
- The City of Walterboro will use a $49,900 grant to replace two aging patrol cars for the law enforcement department. Replacement of these vehicles on a continuing routine basis is essential to maintaining a sound and productive fleet. It will also contain the latest equipment including laptop computer system, software, radios, lights, sirens and camera system that records traffic from various directions.
- The City also received a $40,800 grant to purchase a backhoe loader. This purchase will replace aging equipment with new and more fuel-efficient equipment. This will allow the city to continue its routine of equipment replacement once the useful life has expired.
- In addition to the two grants mentioned above, the City received a $50,000 grant to replace an aging fire pumper truck for the fire department. This new fire pumper is capable of pumping 1,250 gallons a minute, which is essential during emergencies. It will also contain the latest in firefighting equipment including new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs, hose, thermal imaging camera, generator, flashlights and other hand tools used for firefighting activities.
- The Town of Lake View will use a $50,000 grant to purchase a garbage truck for the Sanitation Department. The purchase of a garbage truck will allow the town of Lake View to provide direct garbage collection, operate the sanitation department more efficiently and dependably for its customers.
- The City of Dillon will use a $17,000 grant to purchase a drone for the City of Dillon’s Law Enforcement Department. The drone will allow the department to function more efficiently and will be used for surveillance, search and rescue and inspection activities.
- The City of Lake city received two grants totaling 99,900, which will be to purchase two garbage trucks for the Sanitation Department. The purchase of these trucks will allow the City of Lake City to provide direct garbage collection and operate the Sanitation Department more efficiently and dependably for its customers.
- Hampton County will use an $18,000 grant to replace console furniture and carpet tiles at the county’s dispatch center. The furniture and flooring currently in the facility has aged significantly and caused tripping hazards. Upgrading the furniture will allow staff to perform its duties more efficiently and without concern.
- The Pee Dee Math, Science & Technology Academy will use a $2.7 million loan and a $100,000 grant to construct an approximately 11,000 square foot building adjacent to the academy’s existing campus. This expansion will help the academy to manage its increased enrollment, staff and provide needed accommodations such as a library, tech room, and arts room for students. Currently, teachers do not have a work area for planning periods and have to conduct class in offices or shared classrooms.
- The Samaritan House will use a $17,410 grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment to meet the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requirements. The purchases will help replace appliances, windows, HVAC system, and computers. This will also allow the organization to upgrade its fire protection and telephone systems.
In addition, The Samaritan House will use a $25,690 grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment to meet the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requirements including the removal of mold and mildew. The purchases will help replace plumbing, appliances, windows, HVAC system and computers. This will also allow the organization to upgrade its fire protection and telephone system for Emergency Medical Services.
- Williamsburg County received the following:
- $28,200 grant, which will be used to purchase five, 10×16 office trailers for Williamsburg County Waste Management sites. The trailers would be hurricane certified, include a bathroom, and provide much-needed space to store supplies and equipment for each site.
- $49,800 grant, which will be used to purchase a 40×60 office building for Williamsburg County Waste Management landfill site.
- Three grants totaling $117,900, which will be used to purchase three trash compactors. These stationary trash compactors are essential for the day-to-day operations at the Williamsburg County Landfill and Recycling Sites. The purchase of these new trash compactors will provide citizens of the county with a safe and convenient way of recycling and managing solid waste collection.
- Vital Aging of Williamsburg County Inc. will receive a $34,900 grant to replace the roof and HVAC repairs at Vital Aging Kingstree Wellness Center. Vital Aging has repaired the roof and the HVAC system several times in the past; therefore, they have been advised that it is in need of replacement for the roof and the HVAC system.
- Williamsburg County Disabilities and Special Needs will receive $47,900 to purchase furniture, office and lawn equipment to fulfill contracts within the county. Funds will also be used to repair and paint the main office building. The repairs and equipment upgrades will allow the facility to perform its tasks more efficiently.
- Marion County will receive a $100,000 loan and a $120,000 grant to renovate the county’s administration building. Improvements will include an upgraded HVAC system, repairs to the parking lot and a conference room. This will allow the county to take advantage of existing space to accommodate economic development staff that are currently housed in another building and have all county administrative operations at one facility.
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. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.
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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/erhc.
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 (PDF, 669 KB) 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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/sc.