Providing families with quality healthcare and education is at the heart of what makes rural America a great place to live. The pulse around the community of Belmond in north central Iowa couldn’t be beating any stronger.
I had the pleasure of making a trip to Belmond last month to celebrate the groundbreaking for the expansion of the Belmond Medical Center. On my way to the hospital I couldn’t help but admire the new elementary school and softball and baseball complex, along with the renovations at the high school.
I already knew that Belmond was working hard to improve the quality of life for its community, but the presence of these improvements reaffirmed this commitment.
At the hospital groundbreaking more than 200 people, from a town of only 2,500, came out to celebrate the future of healthcare in the community.
USDA Rural Development was pleased to help this community by awarding a total of $24 million in a guaranteed Community Facilities loan and direct loan to help with renovation and expansion. Nearly all ($21.6 million direct loan) of these funds are from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).
More than $280 million in Recovery Act funds have been awarded to rural communities in Iowa through USDA Rural Development to help businesses, increase broadband access, assist homeowners and help improve community facilities and buildings.
“The expansion and renovation of Belmond Medical Center is essential to meeting the current and future health care needs of the Belmond community and surrounding patient areas,” said Nancy Gabrielson, chief executive officer and administrator at Belmond Medical Center. “Without the loans from USDA Rural Development the project wouldn’t have been possible.”
The current critical access hospital was built in 1952 and is not large enough to meet the healthcare needs of area residents. When completed, the hospital will add 55,000 square-feet and include a new hospital entrance, emergency room, surgery area, acute-care area, therapy area and helicopter stop. The remodeling will add additional clinic, specialty clinic and office space.
The new addition is expected to be completed by November 2011 and the remodeling finished by May 2012. Secretary Vilsack announced Recovery Act funding for Community Facilities projects across the nation yesterday. To find out more about those projects click here.