Co-ops Get $11 Million to Boost JobsBy Steven Johnson | ECT Staff Writer Published: September 30th, 2013
From purchasing medical equipment to supporting a weatherization program, electric cooperatives serving members in seven states will use more than $11 million in loans and grants to spur job creation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding from the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program in conjunction with a Sept. 18 meeting of the White House Rural Council.
“Innovative regional development can work especially well in rural areas because it helps communities share resources across boundaries such as county and state lines,” he said. “By focusing on one or a few common sectors, regional development can produce greater economic returns.”
REDLG provides zero-interest loans for co-ops to relend for local projects. Co-ops support the program through prepayment of their Rural Utilities Service loans.
In North Carolina, Brunswick EMC, Shallotte, will receive $2 million to provide working capital to a local nonprofit agency for a weatherization program.
South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corp., Somerset, is in line for two $1 million loans. One will assist St. Thomas Glen Resorts construct 60 boat slips and 150 parking spaces. The other will help Wisdom Fishing Camp Co. construct 84 additional boat slips, and renovate 4,000 square feet of a floating restaurant and ship’s store into 12 hotel rooms.
White River Valley Electric Co-op, Branson, Mo., will receive a $731,000 loan to help purchase an image-guided radiation therapy system that is expected to provide more than 3,000 treatments to more than 160 patients annually.