The US Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday the awarding of loans for 10 projects in North Carolina to build and improve critical community facilities to benefit rural residents across the state.
“We are investing in our towns and schools so they can continue serve the people in our state,” said State Director for USDA Rural Development in North Carolina Robert Hosford. “Many of these projects are providing updates to services we are proven leaders in. With updated facilities and services our communities will be better served in the years to come.”
One of the ten USDA loans awarded is the funding of construction of a new Antioch Fire Department Station in northern Johnston County through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program.
On Wednesday, the volunteer fire department received a $310,000 loan to construct the new fire station. The department is currently housed in an existing facility which was built in 1960. This facility has had several additions and renovations over its life span. The current facility was originally constructed with a wooden frame structure having very low overhead doors and limited apparatus bay space. The low ceiling heights limits future apparatus acquisitions and cannot be raised.
The new 13,000 square foot fire station will consist of five drive-thru bays, a training room, offices, a kitchen, bedrooms, and restrooms. The new building will allow members of the department to carry out their duties safely and efficiently, also making future growth possible for the department. The loan was originally approved in September 2019 but not funded until this week.
“Rural America needs safe, modern infrastructure to help residents and businesses achieve greater prosperity and have access to essential services,” Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand said. “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.”
In Duplin County, the Warsaw Fire Department received a $350,000 loan and a $350,000 grant to purchase two tanker trucks. Most of the fire department’s current trucks are over 20 years old, have high maintenance costs, and repairs on these vehicles are difficult as the parts needed are not readily available. The USDA funds will provide the Warsaw Fire Department with new trucks to assist them with safely and effectively carrying out their duties to serve their rural community.