Three area projects funded through USDA loans

Posted: Jun. 11, 2014 8:34 am Updated: Jun. 25, 2014 10:15 am

Two Pike County projects and one in Hancock County have been awarded funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The economic development loans made to Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative in Pike County and Western Illinois Electrical Cooperative in Hancock County provide:

$200,902 for renovations and building a 3,700-square-foot addition at the new site for the Pike County Health Department in Pittsfield.

Plans call for the Health Department to move from 113 E. Jefferson into the south side of the dental clinic building, 606 W. Adams, and build an addition to the north and west for administrative offices and conference/classroom space.

The department has 34 full-time-equivalent staff, and the building expansion will help save six administrative jobs.

$1 million to build a grain mill/pelletizing plant for Dearwester Properties on a 10-acre site in the industrial park just east of Carthage. The feed mill will be operated by Nutrition Services. Building the facility will aid in creating 25 new jobs and saving 17 current jobs.

$833,600 for expanding Harpole's Heartland Lodge to increase occupancy at its bed and breakfast resort and outfitting company. Three luxury cabins will be built on the property about seven miles south of Nebo. Completion of the three cabins will add two full-time positions in addition to five construction jobs.

The loans were part of $22.5 million in funding announced Wednesday for organizations in nine states to promote rural economic development.

The funding was provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Under the program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas.

"Rural cooperatives are key to meeting rural needs, and working together allows us to further expand the economic impact of Rural Development funding in Illinois," Illinois Rural Development Director Colleen Callahan said in a news release.

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