Agency: Stimulus having major impact in rural Minn.by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — USDA Rural Development says stimulus funds are having a major impact in rural Minnesota.
Over $418 million in stimulus loans and grants have been awarded through the agency in Minnesota.
USDA state rural development director Colleen Landkamer says the money has gone for everything from city drinking water systems to housing.
"Our biggest investment has been in single family housing; about $308 million dollars," Landkamer said. "We guarantee loans and do direct loans also. But the guaranteed loan is where we guarantee that loan at a local bank."
The nearly $308 million has helped more than 2,600 low and moderate income Minnesota individuals and families buy homes through Rural Development's direct and guaranteed home loan programs.
Landkamer said stimulus money has also been used to improve city drinking water systems.
"Granite Falls is a good example," she said. "Their treatment facility was in the flood plain. It's getting moved."
The city got a $14 million dollar loan/grant package for the project.
Stimulus funds have also guaranteed loans for rural businesses, and provided grants to upgrade water and sewer treatment systems, as well as other community facilities.
Landkamer said stimulus money is available through the end of September and applications can be made at the agency's St. Paul headquarters, or at one of 13 regional rural development offices across the state.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)