Earlier today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a report highlighting the ways in which Community Facilities infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development, and Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.
The Community Facilities program supports job growth across the nation. For example, recently, Under Secretary Tonsager had the opportunity to visit Greene County Medical Center (GCMC) in Jefferson, Iowa. The 75-year-old hospital is planning a large expansion and renovation project that will create a state-of-the-art medical campus and USDA Rural Development will be involved in a big way.
Our agency is providing an $18 million Community Facilities direct loan and a $2 million guaranteed loan to help upgrade and expand the facility which serves residents from several counties in west central Iowa.
This project at GCMC represents part of a continuing effort by the Obama Administration to advance technology as it relates to rural health care. Rural residents must have access to the best available care, and this medical campus will provide decades of service to the residents of this region.
During the last three years nearly $150 million in funding from USDA Rural Development has helped 24 rural Iowa hospitals with expansions, renovations and equipment upgrades.
Improved health care opportunities is extremely important in Iowa as it has one of the nation’s highest percentages of residents who are 65 years of age or older. A high percentage of older Iowans live in rural communities.
When construction is completed GCMC will provide enhanced healthcare delivery services, as well as expanded outpatient services. GCMC is one of the area’s largest employers with more than 250 full- and part-time staff, in a community of 4,600 residents.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program has helped millions of rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.