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The USDA has approved a loan/grant totaling $999,000 for the Village of Ridgecrest, according to Mayor Veller Ray Carroll.

The funding is to be use solely for work and construction related to tie in with Ferriday water system, Carroll said. Of the total amount approved by the USDA, $565,000 is a loan and $434,000 is a grant.

In the meantime, Ridgecrest is seeking a Louisiana Community Block Grant. If that is approved, the USDA loan/grant will not be needed.

Ridgecrest is one of 60 applicants in the second stage of applying for part of a $20 million LCDBG allocated by the Office of Community Development. Final funding decisions will be announced in April.

“We do not have to use this (USDA loan/grant) if we get the (LCDBG) grant,” Carroll said. “But with this USDA loan/grant, we are now guaranteed we can do this job. We have something to fall back on if we don’t get the grant.”

The project includes sandblasting and cleaning the interior and exterior of their water tower, purchasing and installing new ground storage tank and installing a water line from Ferriday’s water plant to Ridgecrest’s storage tank.

Additionally Ridgecrest would purchase a new radio-controlled water meters and install a handicap bathroom in city hall, Carroll said.

The water line will run down Vidalia Drive.

“This is good for the betterment of the community,” Carroll said. 

 “We are looking at next spring to break ground with this project,” Carroll said. “We are signing papers now. It just takes time to get started.”

The USDA loan program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas, according to its website. An essential community facility is defined as a facility providing an essential service to the local community for orderly development in a primarily rural area.

The LCDBG Program is a federally funded Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that is administered through the Office of Community Development.  It includes assistance for public facilities through grants that are used to provide and sustain suitable living environments by helping communities with funds for potable water, sewer, streets, and community center projects, according to its website. The program includes LaSTEP grants that assist communities with funds for solving water and sewer problems through the use of self-help techniques. 

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