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Millions invested in rural Nebraska



USDA Rural Development in Nebraska reports a record year of program delivery with nearly $381.4 million of investments into the state with the help of Recovery Act funding. As outlined in their fiscal year 2010 Rural Development Annual Report, the funds assisted in areas of housing, business and community development, energy, telecommunications and broadband.

"Nebraska communities, businesses and citizens made millions of dollars of investments in 2010, with the support and resources of USDA Rural Development," said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development. "USDA Rural Development has clearly accomplished what the Recovery Act intended--more rural residents assisted, jobs created and community facilities built, bringing an improved quality of life to rural Nebraska."

The 2010 Annual Report highlights the Recovery Act projects and others funded in Nebraska through regular appropriations.

The report shows a breakdown of $113.2 million expended for housing, $112.4 received for telecommunications, $80.6 million to business and energy, $63.9 million for community facilities and water and wastewater, and $11.3 for broadband.

Investment in community facilities will benefit 22 communities through $43 million for projects such as libraries, public safety, tribal colleges, community/senior centers, ag societies, street improvements and equipment. Also, six Critical Access hospitals received funding totaling $40.1 million, to serve 76,279 rural residents. Over the last five fiscal years, Rural Development has assisted in 20 hospital projects with $127.9 million in loans, loan guarantees and grants.

Water and wastewater systems will be impacted by $20.9 million that will assist 14 communities and 2,463 households.

Investments in telecommunications will note loans totaling $112.3 million awarded to Southeast Nebraska Telephone Company at Falls City, Arapahoe Telephone Company, Glenwood Telephone Membership Corporation at Blue Hill, and Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company at Jackson.

Southeast Nebraska Communications Inc. was awarded a loan and grant totaling $11.3 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiatives Program. The project expects to benefit approximately 3,000 people, 50 businesses, and 20 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create initially, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

Impact to business saw 18 businesses receiving funding totaling $69.2 million to assist in business development activities. Also, financial assistance totaling $5.9 million was provided for purchasing and installing renewable energy systems or making energy efficiency improvements for 157 ag producers and rural small businesses. Three Microenterprise Development Organizations received $1.5 million to capitalize three rural microloan revolving funds and provide technical assistance and training to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Also, loans and grants totaling $1.6 million were made to four USDA Rural Development electric program borrowers to finance business and community development projects.

Home loan programs brought homeownership to 1,204 households through $103.2 million in USDA Rural Development funding. Essential repairs to rural owner-occupied homes were provided to 125 homeowners by financing of $750,500. Rural Development provided affordable rent to 3,593 tenants of Rural Development multi-family rural rental housing complexes through $7.1 million in funding. Four existing Rural Development rural rental housing complexes received $2 million to preserve and revitalize their facilities and provide continued affordable rents to tenants.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed into law on February 13, 2009 by Congress, provided taxpayer dollar support for loans, grants or loan guarantees for community facilities, water and waste disposal, broadband, business and industry and housing. In Nebraska the stimulus package brought $191 million into the state by Rural Development that created and/or saved more than 1,700 permanent jobs in addition to construction jobs. The funds provided for:

--$62.8 million in loans and loan guarantees bringing homeownership to 773 households.

--$58.7 million for business and industry loan guarantees to 11 businesses for working capital, expansion and debt restructure.

--$42.9 million for community facility loans, grants and loan guarantees that assisted in 16 projects that ranged from a new hospital and new library to street improvements, community building renovations and the purchase of emergency equipment.

--$14.5 million that assisted 11 communities with their water and waste water needs.

--$11.3 million to Southeast Nebraska Communications Inc. of Falls City, Neb., for continued and enhanced access to broadband capabilities.

--$472,000 for seven rural business enterprise grants that provided technical assistance and revolving loan funds to facilitate and finance for the development of small and emerging rural, private businesses.

USDA Rural Development serves to increase economic opportunity and to improve the quality of life for all rural Americans.

Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne/usda2009ann-report-web.pdf for a copy of the report or call 402-437-5563. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for additional program information or to locate an USDA Rural Development Office nearest you.

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