USDA invests $177M in rural communities
The state director for USDA Rural Development Nevada announced that the agency invested more than $177 million in rural communities in fiscal year 2015, helping more than 700 families buy or repair homes and investing more than $28 million to repair community water and sewer systems.
“These are projects that will stand the test of time,” Sarah Adler said in a news release. “When we help a family buy a home of their own, or when these towns get new water and sewer infrastructure, it builds community. Families can thrive, and towns can attract and grow business.”
USDA provided more than $135 million in rural housing assistance in 2015, with $126 million in direct and guaranteed home loans to help 673 families purchase homes of their own. The agency also provided over $9 million in rental assistance for 1,500 very low income residents, many of them seniors and disabled.
USDA’s community programs pumped $28 million worth of loan and grant dollars into clean water and wastewater projects. Communities like Topaz Ranch Estates, near Topaz Lake and Carlin in northeastern Nevada, can now build efficient and cost-effective systems that will protect community health and the environment.
Topaz Ranch Estates will improve wells and replace water mains at its old and undersized system and Carlin will replace a 40-year-old wastewater pump station. Each project will generate substantial numbers of jobs through engineering and construction contracts. In Virginia City, 13 miles of historic and dilapidated sewer lines will be replaced, financed through a combination loan and grant totaling $13 million from USDA.
The adjacent community of Gold Hill will have its failing community septic system replaced and connected to Virginia City’s new wastewater treatment plant, also funded by Rural Development.
The community facility program’s direct loan and grant programs have assisted communities as well.
The Pershing County Water Conservation District will use an $802,000 direct loan to repair the dam at Rye Patch Reservoir. Tonopah and the Fallon Tribe were able to purchase vans for their senior programs; other rural towns purchased security equipment, equipped commercial kitchens or furnished hospitals with handicapped accessible furniture.
Rural Development’s business program invested $13.7 million in rural communities, including a $10 million loan guarantee to Aqua Metals, a company that is building a large-scale lead battery recycling facility in McCarran. The company broke ground in August and expects to create 70 jobs.
USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program continues to grow, providing $741,504 to support renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement projects across the state.
The Fortifiber Corporation in Fernley, which manufactures moisture barrier papers for the building industry, received the largest REAP grant to date. The $373,429 grant paid for 25 percent of a new 499 kW roof mounted solar system which is expected to generate 886,681 kWh of renewable energy each year. The solar power will replace 39 percent of the plant’s electricity needs and reduce Co2 emissions by more than a million pounds annually.
Rural Business Development grants totaling $273,940 helped fund a number of small and emerging business enterprise projects in rural areas of the state. For instance, the Indian Dispute Resolution Service received $114,447 to continue and expand its “Indianpreneurship” workshops with Nevada tribes. The training includes business plan development, accounting and QuickBooks, financial planning, negotiation, and computer literacy.
For more information on USDA Rural Development Nevada programs, call the State Office in Carson City at (775) 887-1222, or visit the agency website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NV.
Area offices are located in Fallon and Elko.
Reno’s median home price jumped to $413,405 in November, a 4 percent increase from the same month a year ago. Meanwhile, across greater Reno-Sparks, November’s median price of $400,000 remained unchanged from October.