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bobby lewis

Strategic Planning, Thoughtful Leadership Bring Leveraged Investments, Community Vitality to Small-Town West Virginia

I’d been told the neighboring towns of Ranson and Charles Town, West Virginia, are vibrant communities where people want to live, work and raise a family. During a recent visit with local leaders and USDA’s community economic development partners in the area, I saw first-hand how regional approaches and partnerships are attracting public and private investment to the region that make this quality of life possible.

Along with WV Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis, I recently convened a discussion with the mayors and city planners of the two towns to learn more about their successes and strategies. I learned that Charles Town and Ranson are thinking big, re-imagining their future, and developing a blueprint for their long-term economic viability. You see, by working together to develop comprehensive objectives and plans, the communities have been able to leverage grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new businesses, transportation links, and affordable housing. And in 2011, USDA contributed an important piece, providing funding through a Community Facilities Direct Loan for a much needed ambulance shelter.

Strong Start for USDA’s Feds Feed Families Campaign

Our June Feds Feed Families totals are in, and I would like to give my USDA colleagues across the country a discreet, virtual high-five.

Today, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA donated just over 100,000 pounds of food to the Feds Feed Families food drive during the month of June.  What a great start to the campaign! The National Office Feds Feed Families team continues to be inspired by the stories we are hearing from our counterparts in the field.

Rural Development Employees “Pour Sweat Equity” Into Home Building

A nice break in the recent rainy weather in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia offered perfect timing for a Self-Help Build day.  The event which was held September 29, 2010, has become an annual occurrence during which volunteers gather to help families build their homes.

Town of Newburg, West Virginia-A Celebration of the Construction Groundbreaking for an Improved Water System

The Town of Newburg was awarded a total of $2,875,000 for the Fellowsville, York Run, and State Route 26 Water Extension Project.  USDA Rural Development Community Facilities is providing a $400,000 loan, $941,000 grant, and a $185,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) grant to the project.  Also, a Small Cities Block grant for $1,000,000 and a West Virginia Infrastructure Council grant for $349,000 are assisting in the total project cost.

USDA Assists a West Virginia Family With An Affordable Home Loan

By Gail Bennett, Public Affairs Specialist, WV USDA Rural Development On Behalf of State Director Bobby Lewis

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this happy young man brings meaning and life to the cliché.

Jamalyn Sexton and her three year old son, Connor, are happy new homeowners.  A celebration was held in their honor during National Homeownership Month in Elkins, West Virginia.  Federal, State and local government officials, stakeholders, lending partners, and family members were present.

New USDA Funded Emergency Services Facility Dedicated In West Virginia

By  West Virginia USDA Rural Development Public Affairs Specialist Gail Bennett

A building dedication was held for the Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency’s (JCESA) Operations Center earlier this month in Ranson, WV.  On hand and a featured guest speaker for the formal ceremony was USDA Rural Development’s Housing and Community Facilities Administrator Tammye Trevino.