USDA Grant Spurs Downtown Action Plan

In Las Vegas, New Mexico, the ciy is combining USDA grants with private money to revitalize its downtown area. Read inside to learn more about the $890k in grants received have helped to launch 18 new businesses and create 180+ jobs

What Happened?

The city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is using $99,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program to offer credit assistance to downtown business owners for building renovations and technical innovation.

So What?

Las Vegas’ Downtown Action Plan is working to improve streetscapes in the main downtown area while boosting economic activity with cost-efficient projects. From 2005 to 2011, the city launched 18 new businesses, created 181 new jobs, and gathered $12,003,088 in private reinvestments and $890,000 in public sector grants.

This coming spring, the city plans to use $90,000 in capital outlay funds to renovate the Bridge Street Breezeway. The open air structure will be revamped to include a parking lot, art exhibits, music venues and a farmers market. The many renovation and historical preservation projects being launched throughout the city’s downtown area are working from private and public sector funding, as well as the helping hands of local citizens in a collaborative effort to maintain the integrity of the infrastructure while adopting modern efficiencies.

What is the RBEG?[dw-post-more level="0"]

The USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grants program aims to fund small business development in rural communities with distance learning and adult education programs. The grants are available to cities or towns have at least 50,000 people and be located adjacent to an urbanized community. The value of the grants range from $10,000 to $500,000, with strong emphasis placed on smaller projects run by public entities, Indian tribes or nonprofit rural organizations.

Programs receiving funding must be able to enhance rural development through investment in small and emerging private businesses with less than 50 new employees with no more than $1 million in projected gross revenues. Example projects include:

  • Acquisition or development of land
  • Assessment of way
  • Construction or renovation of city infrastructure, tools and natural resources
  • Pollution control and abatement
  • Capitalization of revolving loan funds
  • Training and technical assistance
  • Distance adult learning for job training
  • Rural transportation improvement
  • Project planning

Village Of Cody Project Focuses On Students

The 150 farmers and ranchers that make up the Village of Cody in Nebraska are launching a Future Farmers of America project to make grocery stores and goods more accessible to community members through entrepreneurship strategies. Cody acquired two RBEG awards totaling $99,950 from the USDA to build and stock the new grocery store that is closer than an 80-mile round trip visit for residents. The project not only meets the needs of the local residents, but also establishes an entrepreneur education program for the Cody-Kilgore Unified School District to provide students with hands-on business experience.

The grocery plan calls for all developments to be completed with environmentally friendly materials and classroom facilities to help students learn while working. Educators and local entrepreneurs will mentor students interested in the grocery industry, allowing participants to manage all aspects of the store to spur economic growth in the future.

Food As A Driver Of Growth

Gov1 is following the economic efforts of other communities looking to leverage access to food as a means for downtown revitalization.[/dw-post-more]