U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Announces more Than $42 million to rural Wisconsin communities

Contact: Kelly Edwards | (715) 701.2741 | [email protected]

USDA Announces Investments in Rural Community Facilities to Enhance Rural Health and Public Safety

More than $42 Million to Rural Wisconsin Communities

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – Nov. 17, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments to improve rural community infrastructure, provide essential services and improve access to health care across rural America through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program. These investments in health facilities and support for first responders come as the department celebrates National Rural Health Week.

“Rural America deserves quality, affordable health care, but too often local communities lack the capital to invest in improving the facilities that deliver that care,” Vilsack said. “I am especially proud of the role that USDA plays in addressing the critical needs for health care facilities, including mental health facilities.”

With today’s announcement, Secretary Vilsack said that the department has eclipsed a goal, set in December of 2013, to investing up to $50 million in Community Facilities funds over the subsequent three years to develop or improve mental health facilities and services in rural areas. Community Facilities funding in 2015 more than quadrupled that goal in just two years, funding more than $213 million in 80 projects in 34 states.

Among the awards to support health care services is a $25,234,900 loan USDA provided to the Bethany Home in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Bethany Home will use the funds for the expansion and remodel of the skilled nursing facility (SNF). Bethany Home will be expanding services and program offerings through an extensive campus expansion that will include: construction of a 35,000 square foot Independent Living / Residential Care Apartment Complex, a 5,000 square foot wellness center; a 30,000 square foot short-term rehab addition; and related improvements.

Another health care investment is a $2.9 million loan to Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. for the construction of a new dental center in Menomonie, Wis. This will be the seventh dental clinic constructed in the state of Wisconsin by Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. with USDA Rural Development support.

In addition to health investments, USDA invested in a wide variety of projects to address local rural community needs. In Ripon, Wis., Ripon College received a $14.3 million loan to help with renovations and upgrades of the J.M. Storzer Athletic & Wellness Center on the Ripon College campus. The facility will benefit both students and staff, and the entire Ripon Community. The City of Eagle River, Wis., is receiving a $47,000 grant for the Eagle River Police Department to upgrade a vehicle and equipment necessary to perform law enforcement services to the community.

Funding of each grant and loan announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the funding agreement.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded $9.7 billion under its Community Facilities programs, including $4.9 billion for 1,052 health care projects; $266 million for improvements to 206 public schools; $133 million for 555 libraries; $39 million for 240 day care centers; and $791 million to support 4,876 public safety facilities in rural areas.

USDA Rural Development’s funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Wisconsin. Since 2010, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3.5 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities in rural Wisconsin communities.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development can help rural communities and regions grow and prosper by offering a variety of financial and technical assistance programs that encourage the development of strong community and economic development strategies.

During this past year, USDA Rural Development’s $571 million investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain nearly 1,380 jobs, aided 3,600 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 50 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.

Further information on USDA Rural Development is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/wi.