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Blue Ridge Electric Approved for $850,000 USDA Economic Development Loans for Three Community Projects
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive $850,000 from the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Grant (REDLG) grant program requested for local economic development and community improvement projects.
The approval is the first in a multi-step process, which includes the loan recipients and the Blue Ridge Electric Board of Directors conducting due diligence for final approval of the loan. This process includes Board approval of an additional $286,525 needed to fully fund the local projects and requested from the cooperative’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). The RLF is a limited source set aside for local economic development projects that are repaid to the cooperative.
Upon approval, the recipients will be: Ashe Memorial Hospital: $360,000 for emergency room renovations that will also support nine jobs; $306,525 to help Alleghany County renovate a portion of the Business Development Center for a public library, and $470,000 to help the Gamewell Fire Department purchase a 1,000 gallon water pumper truck, which also support nine jobs.
"Improving the quality of life and economic development in our local communities is one way cooperatives like Blue Ridge Electric benefit our members,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Electric. “We’re very excited to be approved at this step in the process to provide these loans that will significantly help local communities.
The three local projects were part of a total of 68 community projects worth $39.3 million in loans and grants approved in 26 states provided by the USDA’s REDLG grant program. REDLG funding supports projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. Electric cooperatives partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to access the funding, and then funnel it toward projects that will make a large impact in local communities. Since 2012, projects boosted by REDLG funding have supported the creation of about 1,800 jobs in North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Electric works with economic development commissions and other local government, civic and community groups in its service area to improve the quality of life for members and communities.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 74,000 members in northwest North Carolina. For more information, visit BlueRidgeEMC.com.