USDA Announces $750,000 For New Library, $23.6 Million Package To Bring High-Speed Telecommunications To Rural Kentucky
WASHINGTON, October 25, 2001 – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced a $23 million loan package to provide modern, high-speed telecommunications to thirteen Kentucky counties and also announced the approval of a $750,000 direct loan for the construction of a new library in Wolfe County.
“Today, as we talk about the future of agriculture, we must recognize the important role investments in our rural communities play in promoting economic development in rural America,” Veneman said. “Our rural communities must have reliable and ready access to modern telecommunications in order to develop and assist underserved rural areas.”
The $750,000 direct loan is being provided through USDA’s Community Facility program. This program provides funding for constructing, enlarging, or improving essential community facilities such as libraries, public health and safety facilities. The State of Kentucky is providing $175,000 to this project. The library will serve approximately 6,500 citizens in rural Wolfe County.
The $23.6 million loan and loan guarantee package from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service is for the NorthStar Technology, LLC of Corbin, Kentucky, to provide Personal Communications Service (PCS) to 30,850 new subscribers in Bell, Casey, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Whitley, Laurel, Letcher, McCreary, Pulaski, Lincoln, Russell, and Wayne Counties. Many counties in the region of eastern Kentucky face tremendous challenges through high unemployment, isolation from jobs and services, as well as limited financial resources. The availability of modern, high speed, two-way telecommunications connectivity that provides both data and voice grade capability will bring these communities important digital technology.
Veneman also announced $20,000 in National Centers of Excellence funding for Somerset Community College in Somerset, Kentucky. The funds, through a cooperative agreement, will be used to provide information and technical assistance to help rural communities achieve sustainable community development. Somerset is one of eight educational institutions selected for funding.
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal entity for rural development needs, and administers program assistance through three agencies: Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Rural Utilities Service. Further information on USDA Rural Development can be obtained by contacting any USDA Service Center or by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/.
Kevin Herglotz (202) 720-4623
Tim McNeilly (202) 690-0498