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Blue Ridge Secures $1.3 Million in USDA Funding for Lenoir Fire Dept.
Blue Ridge Energy has secured $1.3 million in federal funds for the City of Lenoir to build a new fire station.
The funds were made available through the government's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG). REDLG, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds and grants to qualified entities.
City and state officials had identified a new fire station as a critical need to ensure fire and safety protection for Lenoir’s citizens and businesses on the east side of Smith’s crossroads. Currently, Lenoir’s downtown station covers the area east of the crossroads throughout the city limits. Traffic congestion at Smith’s crossroads creates serious delays for emergency personnel when responding to calls on the east side of town. Additionally, three schools are located within a half mile of the new stations’ proposed site. Citizens and businesses located within the new station’s service area may also benefit from reduced insurance premiums.
Lenoir Fire Chief Ken Briscoe, said “This is a great opportunity for the citizens of Lenoir to partner with Blue Ridge Energy and we’re very appreciative. It’s been a vision of the City Council and Fire Department since 1975 to have this third station,” he continued. “It will enable us to provide faster, better quality response time to the east of Smith crossroads as well as reduce insurance ratings for businesses and homeowners in this area.”
Mayor Joe Gibbons expressed appreciation on behalf of city leaders. “Finding a way to provide increased fire and safety protection for the rapidly growing business and residential corridor on the east side of Lenoir has been a priority on the City Council’s strategic plan for several years,” said Gibbons, Mayor of Lenoir. “Blue Ridge Energy’s support in securing a zero interest REDLG loan for Fire Station #3 will save our city over 300,000 dollars, and will enable the Lenoir Fire Department to continue its excellent tradition of service to the people of Lenoir when this important city facility is completed. We are thankful for the leadership of Blue Ridge Energy in seeking this funding and salute them for their many contributions to our community,” said Gibbons.
"Supporting our citizens and businesses is important to us as a cooperative,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Energy. “Cooperatives work in a variety of ways to enhance the local economy and quality of life for the areas we serve. We’re pleased we’re able to secure available federal funds to help the City of Lenoir build a new fire station that will serve the community for years to come,” he added.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 75,000 members in northwest North Carolina. In 2016, the cooperative and its propane and fuels subsidiary joined together under the market name of Blue Ridge Energy. For more information, visit BlueRidgeEnergy.com.