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$3.7 million in federal funds headed for SC rural communities

Williamsburg County and the City of Walterboro are among a dozen rural communities in South...
Williamsburg County and the City of Walterboro are among a dozen rural communities in South Carolina dividing up $3.7 million in grants and loans from the United States Department of Agriculture.(Live 5)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:52 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2021 at 5:20 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Williamsburg County and the City of Walterboro are among a dozen rural communities in South Carolina dividing up $3.7 million in grants and loans from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program supports 536 projects nation-wide with 20 of those here in South Carolina.

Dr. Saundra Glover is the state director for South Carolina Rural Development. She says this kind of investment in rural communities is critical to maintaining quality essential services.

“Particularly when you are going through a crisis or an impending emergency situation, these services really rise to the top,” Glover said. “If not for these grants and loan opportunities they may not be there.”

In Walterboro, nearly $100,000 will be used to replace two police cars and a fire truck. Another $40,000 is slated to purchase a new, more fuel-efficient backhoe loader.

“You may see a diverse group of projects, but it really speaks to the needs of the rural communities,” Glover said. “These projects over the years have funded libraries, healthcare clinics, schools – any number of activities at the community level in our rural areas.”

Not all of the approved projects are for emergency services. Vital Aging of Williamsburg County Inc – a non-profit providing services to people over 60 – is receiving $34,900 for HVAC repairs. Williamsburg County Disabilities and Special Needs is using $47,900 to purchase furniture, office and lawn equipment. Some of that money will also be used to paint the building as well.

“It’s a competitive process that is reviewed and then projects are identified and funded,” Glover said on how the projects are picked. “There are priority scores for certain projects, particularly in distressed areas.”

Williamsburg County also won nearly $200,000 for updating its waste management office sites and to purchase three additional trash compactors.

“Those services are essential,” Glover said. “Our rural areas deserve the same level of significance and support as our urban areas.”

Other rural communities receiving support include:

Calhoun County received $50,000 grant to purchase equipment to update the John Ford Community Center in St. Matthew.

The Town of Lake View will use a $50,000 grant to purchase a garbage truck for the Sanitation Department.

The City of Dillon will use a $17,000 grant to purchase a drone for the City of Dillon’s Law Enforcement Department.

The City of Lake city received two grants totaling 99,900, which will be to purchase two garbage trucks for the Sanitation Department.

Hampton County will use an $18,000 grant to replace console furniture and carpet tiles at the county’s dispatch center.

The Pee Dee Math, Science & Technology Academy will use a $2.7 million loan and a $100,000 grant to construct an approximately 11,000 square foot building adjacent to the academy’s existing campus.

The Samaritan House will use a $17,410 grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment to meet the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control requirements. In addition, The Samaritan House will use a $25,690 grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment to meet the DHEC requirements including the removal of mold and mildew.

Marion County will receive a $100,000 loan and a $120,000 grant to renovate the county’s administration building.

For more information on the program and how to apply for the next round of grants click here: (https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program)

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