USDA Rural Development invests $113.1 million in zone since 2015

16.scpz.newsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program has invested $113,116,539 in counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone since 2015, according to agency records.

Investments included grants and loans to programs that had applied for funding through and outside of the Promise Zone initiative, as well as agricultural and housing grants awarded in other initiatives.  A summary is offered below:

Funded projects FY 2015 to present (August 2016)

USDA Rural Development Investments:

  • Lowcountry Regional Water System was the first recipient of a multimillion dollar grant package through the South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone. A $1,864,000 grant and $6,480,000 loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the Hampton County-based water and sewer agency to make improvements that will expand sewerage capacity, which will make the county more attractive for economic development. The project also will allow the agency to rehabilitate sewer lines in Hampton, upgrade the agency’s water meter system throughout the county, and paint and repair water towers in Yemassee and Gifford.
  • Water and Waste Disposal Grant – Rural Development has approved A Predevelopment grant of $18,280 for the was awarded to Town of Allendale  to evaluate the current system, identify areas of improvement and make recommendations for improvements. Video inspection of the collection system is part of the evaluation process. The evaluation will assist a population of 3482.
  • DLT Grants (2016) – Palmetto Care Connection, Bamberg County received a grant of $158,214.
  • USDA RD- Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance– received an RBDG grant in the amount of $ 36,455 to launch the strategic plan initiative for the awarded “Promise Zone” designation.  There are five needs that were addressed with the Promise Zone Designation – Increasing Economic Activity, Job Creation, Increasing Educational Opportunities, Reducing Serious and/or Violent Crimes and Leveraging Private Opportunities. A strategic plan that will set the course of action to accomplish quantifiable goals to improve the five need areas.
  • USDA RD- Denmark-Olar School Foundation was awarded a $15,000,000 loan guarantee through Community Facilities programs to build a new school in Bamberg County in FY 2015. Additional loans were made in FY 2016 in total amount of $38,000,000
  • USDA RD- Royal Live Oaks Academy, a nonprofit organization located in Jasper County was awarded a $18,220,000 loan guarantee through Community Facilities Programs to build a new school.
  • USDA RD- City of Walterboro was awarded $50,000 grant through CF programs to purchase police cars.
  • USDA RD- Western Carolina Higher Education Commission, a nonprofit organization located in Allendale County received a $50,000 grant through CF programs for cost overrun.
  • USDA RD- Town of Ehrhardt, Bamberg County was awarded a $24,000 CF grant to purchase police car.
  • USDA RD- Town of Williston, Barnwell County was awarded a $50,000 CF direct grant to purchase police cars.
  • USDA RD- Allendale County was awarded $153,000 in direct loan funds and $356,000 in grant funds through CF Programs for 16 different projects such as: equipment for fire stations, Airport GIS System and Fuel Tank upgrades, police cars, E-911 radios, mini bus for the Office of the Aging, school equipment and technology upgrades.
  • USDA RD –Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance was awarded $610,175 CF Loan Guarantee for a new office in Hampton County (FY 2106)
  • USDA RD- Town of Fairfax, Allendale County- received $31,000 CF loan guarantee to purchase a police car. (FY 2016)

USDA RD Grants awarded to Agricultural Producers located in the PZ counties:

  • USDA RD –REAP – Estill Solar II, LLC- Hampton County was awarded $7,500,000 through REAP Guarantee Loan Program (FY 2016)
  • USDA RD –REAP- Hampton Solar I, LLC- was awarded REAP Guarantee Loan in the amount of $5,000,000 for solar projects in Hampton, SC (FY 2016)
  • USDA RD –REAP- Southern Current, LLC- was awarded REAP Loan Guarantee in the amount of $7,500,000 for solar projects located in Hampton County (FY 2016)
  • USDA RD – Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) energy efficiency grant of $36,877.00 was awarded to Christopher K. Craig, Agricultural Producer.  Grant funds were used for upgrades to the poultry barns such as insulation, installing high efficiency radiant tube heaters and LED lighting.
  • USDA RD- REAP energy efficiency $ 15,000 grant was awarded to Agricultural Producer Thomas Darren Towne.  Grant funds will be used to make energy-efficiency improvements to his poultry farm such as to install new insulation on the sidewalls of four poultry barns and install high efficiency LED light bulbs.
  • USDA RDMiBeck Farms Inc. located in Barnwell County received a $250,000 Value Added Producer Grant to help them reach a new level of sustainability for the farms as well as increase production and marketing of their beef products.
  • REDL–  $1,000,000 was awarded on May 12, 2016 for Aiken Electric Coop for “KW Savings”   They provide services for citizens of Barnwell County.
  • RBDG– (FY 2016) Western Carolina Higher Education Commission was awarded a grant of $77,000 to construct fountain at the entrance at USC Salkehatchie in Allendale, SC.
  • RBDG- (FY 2016)- Beaufort Chamber of Commerce– was awarded $20,000 in grant funds to purchase equipment and commercial printer with 3-D capacity to be used to assist small and emerging businesses in PZ counties of Hampton, Jasper, Allendale and Barnwell.
  • RBDG (2016)- Center for Better South, a nonprofit organization was awarded $50,000 in grant fund. Funds will be used to build capacity through a coordinated training &technical assistance program that empowers individuals & community groups to start or grow organizations or businesses to create jobs and energize communities in PZ counties.
  • RBDG- Lowcountry Local First, a nonprofit organization was awarded $40,000 in grant funds in FY 2016. Funds will be used to provide technical job training to Agribusiness in Colleton and surrounding counties, utilizing a nationally recognized curriculum and accredited certificate program at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm.
  • RBDG- Connect Nation, nonprofit was awarded $45,000 grant funds in 2016. Rural Development funds will be used for the purpose of the execution of a broadband strategic planning process for Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties that are located in the SC Promise Zone (SCPZ);

USDA RD Housing Programs

  • Single Family Housing 502 Direct Program- we invested $45,000 in loan funds and additional $319,004 in grant funds to repair homes. SFH Guarantee investment is $4,616,023

MULTI FAMILY HOUSING Programs- SC RD obligated 2 debt deferral loans in 2015 totaling $1,676,311 for properties in that area.  We also obligated $1,764, 804 in Rental Assistance in 2015 and $1,976,090 in Rental Assistance so far in 2016 for properties located in the Promise Zone.

August 2016- MFH had 2 Housing Preservation Grants funded in the Promise Zone Area:

  • Beaufort-Jasper Equal Opportunity Commission, Inc., serving Beaufort and Jasper County, in the amount of $42,153
  • Allendale ALIVE, Inc, serving Allendale County, in the amount of $42,153
  • SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING Guarantee Program- total investments of $7,354,739

Source:  USDA.

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