United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Assistant Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced that the USDA is investing $1 billion to build and improve essential community facilities in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while stimulating community development and building strong infrastructure for people living in rural communities.
“The Biden-Harris administration has made investing in improving infrastructure a top priority,” Bronaugh said. “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services 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 create opportunity and prosperity for people who call rural communities home.
USDA is investing $43.4 million in rural Ohio to build and improve essential community facilities. The USDA is making funds available to 13 projects through two programs that will fund essential community services to help rural Ohio, loan guarantees for community facilities, and direct loans and grants for community facilities.
One example is the Ohio Eastern Star Home which will use a $23 million investment to expand the Ohio Eastern Star Home senior independent living space campus. Since 1951, The Ohio Eastern Star Home has provided housing and skilled nursing services to older adults in Knox County. Facility services include the operation of an 86-bed skilled nursing facility, a 19-bed assisted living space and a rehabilitation center.
This expansion will add 96 additional living spaces in two phases. The first phase will include the construction of a 32-unit self-contained apartment building, while the second phase will build 64 independent living condominiums. This will allow Ohio Eastern Star Home to establish a better continuum of care for its residents as they transition from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing care.
The Township of Washington 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 fire and road service equipment and equipment and does not allow for future expansion as the township’s population continues to grow.
The new structure will have new office space for township administrative staff and the fire department with a multi-purpose room for administrator meetings and fire crew training and courses. There will also be a fitness room which will be shared by all staff as well as modernized living quarters with kitchen and dining room, dormitory, toilets and laundry for the firefighters.
For vehicles and storage, the fire department will have five vehicle bays with equipment storage, laundry and decontamination. For the highways department, there will be a separate heated storage area with five drive-thru bays as well as new offices, a rest room, toilets, a laundry room and a welding and fabrication shop.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for community facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public agencies, non-profit 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 state USDA rural development office for information on additional funding, application procedures, and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loans Program Guide for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.