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Federal Facilities Program Touches Rural Communities Nationwide

A federal community facilities program has benefited more than 37 million rural Americans since 2009, and many of its projects have been related to education, according to a new report.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released an 18-page document late last week that offered a sampling of its rural infrastructure investments. The federal government also announced an additional $45 million for 38 projects in 21 states that are supposed to create jobs and promote economic development.

The federal Community Facilities Program gives loans, grants, or loan guarantees in areas such as health care, education, public services, and public safety. In the education arena, that can mean anything from libraries, museums, and public schools to camps for the impaired and distance learning. The funded infrastructure or services have to be available for public use in rural areas with 20,000 people or fewer.

The new federal report gives at least one example of the projects from each state, and many are related to education. For example, MOT Charter School in Middletown, Del., didn't have a full-sized gymnasium for competitive sports or physical education classes. The federal program gave the school money to build one, as well as a bigger library and two extra classrooms.

And my home state of South Carolina received a loan and grant for new construction or renovations of three schools in rural Dillon County. Those schools had received national attention for their poor condition.

Check the report out to see what's been done in your state. Information also is available online on how to apply for these funds.

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