USDA announces more than $22 million in investments for rural western Kentucky, Tennessee
Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday more than $22 million in investments to benefit residents of western Kentucky and Tennessee.
The funding announcement – a part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in Rural America event series – is going to better equip local law enforcement, expand ambulance services, aid expansion at a bourbon distillery, improve water treatment and implement a dental health care program in multiple county school systems.
Tom Carew, USDA’s Rural Development Kentucky State Director, called the announcement just “the latest wins” for the Rural Partners Network – a Biden administration initiative aimed at accelerating community development in rural areas across the nation by connecting member communities directly with federal agencies and officials to help them find resources and funding.
“By emphasizing relationships and connecting community needs with resources that can help, we’re reshaping how we help previously underserved areas,” Carew said.
Fulton was included in the first wave of member communities announced in April 2022, and the community hosted a forum for stakeholders to learn the potential benefits of the federal initiative earlier this year.
The more than $22 million in investments includes a $1 million grant for the Purchase Area Development District (PADD) from Delta Health Care Services to bring a dental health care program to local schools in Calloway, Fulton, Hickman and Lyon counties.
Mattea Mitchell is PADD’s director for community and economic development. She said the program – which will provide free, preventative care for all students in those local school systems through a mobile dental health clinic – is the result of working with partners, including the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and the Four Rivers Foundation.
She said this free preventative care program is an attempt at removing a barrier to care that some parents face when trying to work and care for their children.
“Smaller communities don't have super accessible dentists,” Mitchell said. “This is providing a service and making something accessible in a region that might not be the most accessible by nature. What we're trying to do is make sure that our kids are healthy and they're safe.”
PADD is also using the funding to obtain an additional ambulance for KenTenn Emergency Medical Services. The ambulance will be housed and deployed out of the Fulton County community of Cayce so that it can rapidly respond to emergencies in both Kentucky and Tennessee.
The other investments includes the following projects:
- Jackson Purchase Distillery in Hickman will use a $21.6 million guaranteed loan – provided by Magnolia Bank – to construct a new still, fermenter building, grain handling system and rickhouse. The expansion is expected to create 25 new jobs. The distillery announced a large expansion late last year.
- The city of South Fulton, Tennessee, will use a $250,000 grant for maintenance – described by state USDA officials as “sludge removal” – at its water treatment plant.
- The city of Fulton, Kentucky, will receive a $32,200 Community Facilities grant to buy and equip a vehicle for the Fulton Police Department.