Rural Nebraska communities in FEMA declared disaster counties have begun to utilize the $2.2 million provided by USDA for disaster recovery. The grants are available through the Community Facilities Program.
To date, there have been three awards totaling $125,300 in grant assistance.
- Burwell Rural Fire District will utilize Rural Development funds to assist in the purchase of a 4-wheel drive ambulance to serve the fire district, which covers 750 square miles in rural Nebraska encompassing 2,269 people.
- The city of Geneva’s Fire Station will use the Rural Development funds to assist in constructing a storm shelter in the station for use by the public during severe storm events. A generator will be purchased for operational needs of the department during power outages. New bunker gear will also be purchased as well as air packs and pager/radios. This project will benefit a community of 2,217 residents.
- The city of Superior is using the funding for repair of the City Library’s existing roof that sustained hail and other damage as a result of the summer of 2019 hail, high wind, and rain storm. The project will remove and replace the shingles and underlayment along with the gutters and downspouts. This municipality serves 1,957 rural residents.
“I am pleased to see that the much-needed USDA recovery dollars have started to assist the impacted communities in Nebraska,” said Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser, USDA Rural Development. “Currently we have received 40 requests for assistance that we are processing. We are thankful for the interest in the recovery dollars and encourage eligible municipalities, counties, and non-profits to continue to contact us with your community’s needs.”
The $2.2 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019.
Nebraska declared counties are: Adams, Antelope, Arthur, Banner, Blaine, Boone, Box Butte, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Cedar, Cherry, Cheyenne, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Greeley, Hall, Hamilton, Harlan, Hayes, Holt, Hooker, Howard, Jefferson, Johnson, Kearney, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Knox, Lancaster, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nance, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Omaha Indian Reservation, Otoe, Pawnee, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Polk, Ponca TDSA, Richardson, Rock, Sac and Fox Indian Reservation, Saline, Santee Indian Reservation, Sarpy, Saunders, Scotts Bluff, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Stanton, Thayer, Thomas, Thurston, Valley, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Winnebago Indian Reservation, and York.
Grant applications will be accepted at USDA Rural Development Attn: Community Programs; 100 Centennial Mall North; Federal Building Room 308; Lincoln, Neb. 68508. Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. For application details and additional information, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10 Federal Register. In Nebraska, contact your local Rural Development Community Program Staff.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.