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Category: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

Youth Workers Improve Los Padres Wilderness Trails

Crews worked for months to rehabilitate nearly two hundred miles of remote trails.

Crews worked for months to rehabilitate nearly two hundred miles of remote trails.

Recovery Act funding spurs a renaissance in backcountry trail maintenance.

This year, visitors to the Los Padres National Forest, near Goleta, Calif., are seeing widespread wilderness trail improvements thanks to Recovery Act funds.  Nearly $2.3 million was allocated to the forest for wilderness trail rehabilitation and maintenance which was divided among its five ranger districts. Read more »

Forests Inside Out!

Forests Inside Out! is a partnership of the U.S. Forest Service, World Forestry Center, and the Inner City Youth Institute. The program’s activities are structured around “Project Learning Tree,” a nationally recognized curriculum that is aimed at fostering an understanding of how forests and the environment work. Partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it provides outdoor education opportunities to students from underserved communities.

“Nothing compares to getting students outside,” said Rob Pierce, education director with the World Forestry Center, one of the program’s sponsors. “And, it’s important to give those who have never had the opportunity a chance to make that connection.” Read more »

For A North Dakota City, a Recovery Act Loan Makes the Difference

“Without the involvement of USDA Rural Development, this hospital would not have been built,” says Martin Richman, CEO of the Jamestown Regional Medical Center (JRMC).  Marty smiled from ear-to-ear as he prepared to thank North Dakota Rural Development State Director, Jasper Schneider and his staff at a formal ribbon cutting ceremony at the new $52 million facility.  USDA Rural Development financed a direct loan through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and guaranteed a loan through AgStar Financial.

The 25-bed, critical access hospital will not only serve a nine-county area but it will also stimulate the economy through employment of over 300 health professionals.  The community hospital’s roots date back to 1928 when ground was broken for JRMD’s predecessor.  That older structure will now be owned by Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and remodeled into a senior housing facility financed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Read more »

Wood-to-Energy Recovery Act Funds Bring Jobs, Energy Savings to Maine

Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.

Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.

In August 2009, a total of $11.4 million in U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act funds were made available to the State of Maine for grants to help rural, economically depressed counties support the conversion of heating systems to wood/dual-fuel heating systems for an estimated 15 public buildings. Read more »

The Church Floated Down the Street…and Around the Corner

U.S. Historical Marker for Methodist church in Swan Quarter.

U.S. Historical Marker for Methodist church in Swan Quarter.

Back in 1876, the Methodists of the coastal community of Swan Quarter, NC were keenly aware of flooding issues from heavy rain and high tides. As a result, they sought property less prone to flooding for a new church. But their efforts to purchase a specific vacant lot on high ground were unsuccessful, so the church was built near the heart of the town on a lower lot. Read more »

North Dakota Community Gathering Celebrates a New Fire Hall, Funded With Support from USDA

A crowd gathered last Sunday in the community of Almont, North Dakota, to celebrate the completion of the new fire and ambulance hall.  The weather was perfect for the firefighters to grill burgers and play music for all to enjoy.  The ceremony started with Frank Melchoir, Almont Rural Fire District’s president, recognizing all the partners who made the project possible.  Members of the rural community had generously donated money and land for the new, modern facility.  USDA Rural Development was also a crucial player providing a grant and loan

Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development State Director, addressed the crowd expressing the critical importance of timely emergency services.  “Seconds matter in emergency situations, it could mean the difference in saving the building or, more importantly, a life,” said Schneider.  He continued by thanking the volunteers for their service and heroic efforts and also congratulated them on their dedication in making this project happen. Read more »