The United States Department of Agriculture announced an investment on July 15 of $153 million to build and improve critical community facilities to benefit nearly 2 million rural residents in 94 projects in 23 states.


"Rural America needs safe, modern infrastructure to help residents and businesses achieve greater prosperity and have access to essential services," USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said in a release. "Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner with rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives."


The investments can be used to build or upgrade a rural community facilities such as schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities.


U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., helped secure investments for three projects.


The rural development investment will be used to build new essential infrastructure for the Bethany Home Association of Lindsborg. Project funds will help construct a little more than 20,000-square-foot addition to the Association's existing 20-unit assisted living facility. Project funds will also refinance existing debt.


Another investment project went to Lucas, in Russell County. Lucas received funds to renovate infrastructure in the city. A 6,000-square-foot building is being renovated in a community center, housing the city's public library, offices and a recreation room used for civic meetings and events.


Currently, the city's library is housed in a building constructed in 1920, one of the oldest structures in the city. The building is not disabled-compliant under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The floor in the main room is sinking due to deteriorating floor joints. According to library staff, stairs must be used to access the building, and there is not enough space inside the building nor on the adjacent exterior sidewalks to create a ramp.


Similar limitations affect the existing Chamber of Commerce office, which consists of an 88-square-foot room. This project will provide access to new and improved cultural resources and will address existing limitations with accessibility, energy, and construction.


The last project, which totals almost $2 million, went to Johnson in Stanton County. The investment will be used to reconstruct one mile of Oak Street in Johnson. Oak St. is a truck route from US-160 highway to the elevators, which are located on the south side of town. The street is more than 25 years old and can no longer support the heavy truck traffic. The project will utilize cement to reconstruct the road and expand the width of the roadway.


To find out more about additional funding, contact the USDA Rural Development state office.