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USDA Rural Development brings millions of dollars to Meade County

 By Chad Hobbs

Last Thursday, local and state leaders, along with U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie came together to announce over $4 million in loans and grants were being awarded to the Meade County Water District (MCWD) and the city of Muldraugh. One loan would be going towards the expansion of the MCWD’s water distribution system. Another loan and grant would go towards Muldraugh’s aging sewer system.

 Tim Gossett, the general manager of the MCWD, stated the new project would add approximately 18 miles of new water main to the current system. It will be a combination of water mains used to create loops in the system along with brand new legs into the system. Gossett said that the loops will do away with dead ends in the current distribution system, which will allow the MCWD to better service the system while also providing better flow and pressure for the customer. He added that the new construction of water mains will bring 200-300 new families the ability to have clean, affordable water. Gossett said that the water district currently serves about two-thirds of the county.

 State Director of Rural Development Hilda Gay Legg announced the MCWD was awarded a $2.5 million loan for this project. She added that, by taking that loan at the lower interest rate of 1.8 percent and extending it over 40 years, it would save the tax payers of Meade County over $1 million by having the USDA rural development loan.

“You are working men and women that make this country great,” said Legg. “It is your hard earned dollars that are being returned to your hometown, and we think you deserve to know about that, and we think you deserve to celebrate that.”

Legg also announced that a $1.2 million dollar loan and a $403,000 grant were being awarded to the city of Muldraugh. She stated these funds would be used to replace 3.5 miles of sewer line, replace a pump station and rehabilitate 160 manholes to address health hazards from an aging and deteriorating infrastructure.

The ABC’s of rural development, according to the state director, are affordable housing, business programs, and community programs. She said that over $2.1 billion have come to Kentucky for affordable housing under the Trump Administration. Of that total, $17.7 million of it has come to Meade County. Legg said that has translated into 125 families being able to “turn a house into a home” here. The community programs include infrastructure such as broadband, electric and water.

“Broadband doesn’t matter; electricity doesn’t even matter, if people don’t have clean, potable, healthy water. You cannot live without that substance of life which is water,” stated Legg. “The abundance of healthy water is very, very important, critically important, to our rural communities.”