Communities in the Upper Peninsula are benefitting from infrastructure upgrades made possible by the USDA Rural Development.
State Director Jason Allen says northern Michigan is getting a share of the $1.2 billion investment by the Trump administration to improve water and wastewater infrastructure. “The way the programs work is that if it’s a community under 10,000, under the current Farm Bill, this allows communities to come to us, put an engineering plan together, and it’s available for both upgrades and for extensions or improvements to services,” Allen said.
The City of Bessemer will use a loan of $2.6 million and $7.8 million grant to improve its water system, much of which dates to the early 1900s and uses lead-joined cast iron pipe.
Other parts of the UP are benefitting as well. “Projects around Houghton include upgrades to infrastructure and that will help the potential of frozen lines, it will help leakages and seepages into the watershed, and improve the overall system to reduce costs,” Allen said.
Help is also available from the USDA for families in need of home repair support. Allen said, “One of the programs as we going into the holiday season and if you run into families that are in need of upgrades for furnaces that are in poverty or elderly, we have housing preservation loans and grants. These are in small amounts, $7,500 or less, that can help with an upgrade of a roof, furnace, or hot water heater.”
More information on those programs can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/mi