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USDA invests $12.5M to improve rural facilities, services

Crawford schools, Town of Marengo among recipients
USDA invests $12.5M to improve rural facilities, services USDA invests $12.5M to improve rural facilities, services

The USDA is investing $185 million to equip, rebuild and modernize essential services in rural areas of 32 states, with the investments benefiting three million rural residents, said Curtis Johnson, acting state director of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Indiana Rural Development.

“These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all residents, such as schools, police departments and other community equipment necessities,” said Johnson. “USDA is committed to assisting rural Indiana build back better and stronger.”

The USDA is investing in 233 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. Of these, 74 awards, totaling $4 million, will help communities with their long-term recovery efforts following natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

Among the recipients are the Crawford County Community School Corp. and Town of Marengo.

Crawford County schools will use a $53,000 grant to purchase 45 interactive display panels. The new panels are more modern than the existing panels that require a projector to function, which are old and costly to maintain with the cost of replacement bulbs. The new panels come with built-in teaching tools and manipulatives that will increase student engagement during both in-person and remote learning. For learner-centered, technology-rich lessons, the interactive display panels encourage peer-to-peer collaboration between students and teachers alike. The panels are equipped with tools to inspire students and make learning more fun such as instant polling, game-based activities and content sharing software.

The Town of Marengo used a $4,000 grant to help purchase a new yard trash truck, 324 trash bins for customer use and a storage structure for the truck to serve more than 800 residents. Previously, the town contracted for this service and, based on the most recent quotes for service, the town can provide the service for the same revenue by purchasing the trash truck and equipment. The town will use two employees already on town payroll to provide the labor.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

To learn more about Community Facilities Program funding opportunities, call the USDA office at 1-317-290-3100 or visit