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USDA Invests $2.3 Million in Rural Michigan Communities
Michigan Ag Connection - 05/17/2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Wednesday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $243 million in 50 rural community facility projects in 22 states.

"Rural communities represent a wealth of opportunity," Hazlett said. "Under Secretary Perdue's leadership, USDA is a partner in bringing those opportunities to life -- whether attracting jobs, accessing additional capital, or improving the quality of life in these towns through access to modern community services."

USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The recently passed 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.

"These projects showcase the variety and reach of USDA Rural Development, ranging from our southern border to the Keweenaw," said USDA Rural Development state director for Michigan Jason Allen. "Significant funding increases from the recent budget agreement have made it possible for us to do even more for rural Michigan in the future."

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding, such as schools, health care facilities, libraries and infrastructure improvements. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million. Michigan's awardees are:

- The Village of Dryden in Lapeer County is receiving $1,044,000 for streetscape, water and sewer main replacement, and pavement replacement. Most of the project is located in the downtown section of the village. The work is restricted to the road right of way. Several of the village funds will be pledged toward the loan repayment. These include the major and municipal street fund, water fund, and the Downtown Development Authority fund. Other funding includes a $279,815 applicant contribution, a $668,935 grant from the Rural Task Force Fund, and a $260,940 grant from the Michigan Transportation Alternatives Program.

- The Quincy Mine Hoist Association in Houghton County is receiving $200,000 to repair the railroad tram. The tram consists of 847 ties and track that were installed 13 years ago. Since then, the ties have deteriorated and are affecting the structural integrity of the cog-wheel complex. The tram ride down the hill to the mine is a part of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association tour. The underground tour has 30,000 annual visitors. The useful life of the replacement ties is expected to be 50 years.

- The Village of Union City in Branch County is receiving $1 million to make dam repairs. The dam was built in 1923 and includes a powerhouse, a concrete spillway and an earthen embankment. The project will resolve structural issues with the embankment, rebuilding it to meet current engineering standards.

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