By Marlana Ward
Representatives from the USDA Rural Development program traveled to Mountain City on Tuesday, August 30th to award investments to three projects within Johnson County. These investments are intended to benefit not only the three locations to which monies were awarded but the citizens of Johnson County as a whole.
The first grant awarded was given to the Johnson County Public Library. The $24,000 Community Facilities Grant will be used by the library to assist with the current expansion project. The much needed expansion will include the enclosure of two wings in the front of the library building.
Shady Valley Volunteer Fire Department was given a $24,500 grant and a $45,500 loan for the purchase of a new vehicle and the construction of a storage building. “We are using the loan/grant for two purposes: first building a storage building to house support trailers, rescue trailer, a wild land fire equipment trailer, and ATVs,” Fire Chief Charles McQueen explained. “Also, we are upgrading our rescue truck to a larger, heavier truck to carry all of our first response tools. This truck will carry four firemen, all medical supplies, extrication tools, air packs, etc.”
The largest grant awarded Tuesday was given to New River Hardwoods, Inc. The grant in the amount of $125,243 will be used to install a biomass wood boiler system at their facility in Johnson County. “The boiler will utilize the company’s leftover wood from operations to provide energy to the facility,” as stated in the USDA News Release concerning the grant. “The project will save New River Hardwoods in both water reductions and energy cost savings.”
USDA Rural Development State Director, Bobby Goode, was on hand at the award presentations to show support for the development in our area. “We are excited to be a part of the great things going on in Johnson County,” stated Goode. “It is vital that our rural communities have the most up-to-date resources to ensure that each citizen has the best chance to succeed.”
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.