United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced that USDA is investing $1 billion to build and improve critical community facilities in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in infrastructure improvements a top priority,” Bronaugh said. “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all communities, such as health care facilities, schools, libraries, and first responder vehicles and equipment. When we invest in essential services in rural America, we build opportunity and prosperity for the people who call rural communities home.”
USDA is investing $43.4 million in rural Ohio to build and improve critical community facilities. USDA is making funds available to 13 projects through two programs that will fund essential community services to help rural Ohio, the Community Facilities Loan Guarantees and Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants.
One example is the Ohio Eastern Star Home that will utilize a $23 million investment to expand the Ohio Eastern Star Home’s campus of senior independent living spaces. Since 1951, The Ohio Eastern Star Home has been offering housing and skilled nursing services to seniors in Knox County. The facility’s services include the operation of a skilled nursing facility with 86 beds, assisted living space with 19 beds and a rehabilitation facility.
This expansion will add an additional 96 living spaces over the course of two phases. Phase one will involve the construction of a 32-unit independent living apartment building while phase two will construct 64 independent living condominiums. It will allow Ohio Eastern Star Home to establish a better continuum of care for its residents as they progress from independent living to assisted living and on to skilled nursing care.
Washington Township in Richland County will use a $9.6 million investment to construct a multipurpose building for the Township’s Fire, Road and Administrative departments. The existing building does not have enough space for the fire and road department’s gear and equipment and does not allow for future expansion as the township’s population continues to grow.
The new structure will have new office spaces for the township administrative staff and Fire Department with a multipurpose room for trustee meetings and fire crew training and classes. There will also be a physical fitness room that will be shared by all personnel along with modernized living quarters with kitchen and dining area, dormitory, restrooms, and laundry for the Fire Crew.
For vehicles and storage, the Fire Department will have five vehicle bays with gear storage, laundry, and decontamination. For the Road Department, there will be a separate heated storage space with five drive thru bays along with new office space, break room, restroom, laundry and a welding and fabrication shop.
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.
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.