Travelers on Interstate 94 in central Minnesota are greeted by a smiling face whenever they pass through the city of Freeport. For years, the city has been known for the smiley face painted on its water tower. Unfortunately, due to the tower’s age, it no longer meets the needs of the community of 450 people.
Using loan and grant funds from USDA Rural Development, Freeport will build a new water tower, replace water mains, make water main looping improvements and replace old sewer lines. The loan portion of the Rural Development funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009.
“The Recovery Act has allowed Rural Development to help an additional 26 communities in rural Minnesota address critical water and wastewater issues,” Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer said. “These investments result in job creation, a cleaner environment and strong infrastructure that builds sustainable rural communities.”
Landkamer joined local, state and national officials in Freeport on April 28 to break ground for the project. Construction is expected to carry on through the summer.
Once completed, Freeport residents and businesses will have better water flow, increased water pressure, higher water quality and improved treatment of wastewater. Public safety also will be improved through increased water pressure at fire hydrants.
In addition to being known as the “city with a smile,” Freeport will also be known as the city with a water/wastewater system that will serve the community for years to come.
To learn more about USDA water and environmental programs and to find out how your rural community can benefit, click here.