U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced Thursday, Nov. 14 that USDA is investing $394 million to improve critical community facilities in 28 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

Tennessee Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy announced that a project in Clay will receive Community Facility Direct Loan funding.

“Our commitment to improving the quality of life in rural Tennessee is solid,” Commissioner Tracy said. “USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building and modernizing facilities, creating jobs and educational opportunities.”

Clay County will receive a $7,506,000 loan to construct a new 22,000 square foot facility to house the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and new jail facility.

This new facility will alleviate the overcrowding seen at the current 4,000 square foot facility by expanding the jail’s capacity from 14 beds to 100 beds. This project will allow the jail facility to better serve the needs of the county, as it currently has an average daily population of 62 inmates.

This will create expanded administration space, inmate intake and processing space, and dedicated jail space for male and female inmates. Moreover, the new location will give the jail additional space to expand the facility if necessary.

This new jail will also provide improved kitchen and laundry facilities and provide the county with inmate program space.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information visit www.rd.usda.gov/tn.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities.

In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local, and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.