USDA Partners To Improve Community Infrastructure In 6 Rural Communities In Tennessee

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $181 million in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states. Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy announced today that USDA is investing over $2.3 million in six projects in Tennessee, including South Pittsburg.

“In order for rural Tennessee communities to prosper, they must have the proper infrastructure in place to meet the needs of their citizens,” Mr. Tracy said. “I am excited that USDA is committed to assisting communities in making infrastructure a priority.” 

USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries and day care centers. Tennessee projects include:

The city of South Pittsburg will use a $204,500 loan and $38,500 grant to purchase three cars that will be used by the police department, a fire department vehicle and three light duty pick-up trucks that will be used by the public works department. The city will also buy a compact track loader with tilting bucket, brush cutter and street sweeper attachments to better serve a community of 3,000.

The Nolichuckey Valley Volunteer Fire Department will use a $975,000 loan and $47,500 grant to construct a fire hall in Chuckey. This project will establish permanent location for the volunteer fire department, which provides services to about 6,800 residents. Additional funding will be provided by Washington County. 

Lewis County will use a $264,000 loan and $50,000 grant to purchase a replacement chip spreader to allow the Lewis County Highway Department to reservice rural county roads.  

The town of Brighton will use a $500,000 loan to purchase a new fire engine and additional equipment to better serve the occupants of approximately 2,735 residential dwellings and three county schools that house 3,100 students and 300 staff.

The Monroe Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. will use a $65,000 loan to purchase a new brush truck. The truck will allow the fire department fight fires in rural and mountainous areas, better serving the 3,000 area residents. Additional funding includes a $15,000 Rural Development Impact Initiative grant.

The city of Mt. Pleasant will use a $170,000 loan to purchase a new mini pumper fire truck to replace a 32 year old vehicle. The truck will be primarily used within the city limits but will also provide mutual aid to surrounding areas on an as needed basis, which would include a total of around 10,000 residents. Additional funding includes $47,500 in Rural Development Economic Impact Initiative grants.

The additional projects announced yesterday will help improve the quality of life for 1.1 million rural residents in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017. 

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force. 

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.


U.S. Congressional District 3 Forum Scheduled For Monday Is Canceled

The candidate forum for U.S. Congressional District 3 scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, has been canceled. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and Dr. Danielle Mitchell were invited to participate and give input on possible dates back in September. Dr. Mitchell responded, but Rep. Fleischmann did not. After a month without a commitment, a date was announced last week. Rep. Fleischmann’s ... (click for more)

Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place Hosts 2018 Miss TN Outstanding Teen And Helps With Local Service Project At HES

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place recently hosted Mary Humphrey, the 2018 Miss Tennessee Outstanding Teen.  Ms. Humphrey spoke about the pageants she has participated in and the inspiration she received from her grandmother.  "Her passion and platform, Pages with a Purpose, helps promote literacy among children similar to the literacy program sponsored ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Denies He Had Gun In Road Rage Incident, But Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

A Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor has denied having a gun in a road rage incident with a 17-year-old girl at Northgate Mall, but General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes bound the case to the Grand Jury. The judge said,"It's a very close issue. It's he said, she said. I don't think it's going to get out of the Grand Jury, but I am going to find there is probable cause." The girl ... (click for more)

Federal Judge In Nashville Tells State To Halt Suspension Of Drivers Licenses Of Those Who Cannot Pay

 A Nashville federal judge has directed that the state halt suspension of the drivers licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines and court costs. The ruling was from District Judge Aleta Trauger. Officials of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security said, "The department has received the order.  It will stop suspensions of licenses, as the Court requires, ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)