Special to the Sun
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., announced that 10 small New Mexico communities are the target for a $150,000 federal rural economic development grant awarded to make community development goals a reality.
Domenici reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has issued the grant to the New Mexico Rural Development Response Council based in Las Cruces. The Council will pair these federal funds with other funds to provide $300,000 to advance economic and community development projects in El Rito, Eunice, Hatch, Lordsburg, Magdalena, Raton, Reserve, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa and Tucumcari.
“This grant will be leveraged with local and other funds to promote workable projects that can improve a community and create jobs. These projects could, for instance, be related to salsa in Hatch, affordable housing in Magdalena or infrastructure needs in towns like Eunice that will experience growth soon,” Domenici said. “This program was created by Congress specifically help small communities retain their character while also creating more economic opportunities for their people.”
The USDA award was based, in part, on poverty rates and income levels in rural communities, as well as a capacity to engender economic development and provide affordable housing.
This grant derives from the 1990 Rural Development Initiative. Domenici supported this law and the creation of the New Mexico Rural Development Response Council to coordinate the work of federal, state and local agencies presiding over benefits and programs reaching into rural areas. The council’s mission will be to assess rural New Mexico’s development needs and develop a strategy to address them.