Ohio rural communities receive $265 million through USDA program

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COLUMBUS – Ohio’s USDA Rural Development office invigorated the state’s economic health by disbursing $265 million during fiscal year 2001.

Using a creative mixture of loan/grant programs, the office’s housing program staff completed loans to 2,055 families totaling more than $143 million. Ohio ranked seventh nationally in delivering rural housing assistance.

The community programs division assists rural communities with infrastructure development through funding construction projects. These initiatives include water and wastewater disposal projects and projects funding construction or upgrades to existing community facilities.

Completing the most active funding year in the past 20 years, Ohio’s USDA Rural Development office capitalized 74 projects (child care center, fire station, library, domestic violence center, etc.) valued at more than $80 million.

Sewer and water construction projects represent the balance of community program commitments. More than 15,000 households and 4,300 larger than residential-sized users were assisted with new or improved water or sewer services.

This activity level elevated Ohio to second in the nation in obligating water and wastewater disposal funding and third nationally in funding community facilities.

In a third funding arena and using a combination of loan guarantees, lending programs and business opportunity/cooperative development grants, staff members approved 42 loan guarantees with valuations of $44.5 million. This direct channeling of available funding helped create or save more than 3,200 jobs in communities battling difficult economic conditions.

“We’re already into another funding cycle so we’ve got to turn it up another notch,” said Randy Hunt, Ohio’s director of rural development.

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