USDA, electric co-op team up on loan fund

A $300,000 USDA Rural Development grant has been granted to the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative to help establish a revolving loan program for economic development projects in communities served by the utility.

The Rural Economic Development Grant will be matched with a $60,000 contribution from the co-op to seed the fund, which is designed for financing local business and community projects that promote growth, job creation and improvements to the region’s economic base.

The initial loan will be made to CRDC Plymouth Community Development Corp. to finance a portion of a new medical office building to be located on Industrial Drive off Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth. The building will be leased to Mid State Health Center.

Capital Regional Development Corp. of Concord is the primary developer of the project.

Other sources of funding for the medical building include Community Development Block Grant funds through the town of Plymouth and private financing through the federal New Market Tax Credit Program. As the initial loan is repaid, funds will be re-lent to other qualifying projects in the region, said Fred Anderson, chief executive officer of the co-op.

Anderson said the fund “will serve as a resource to assist with economic development and will work with financial institutions and others to the greatest extent possible. The medical office building is a great example of a project that will provide both an essential service and economic benefit to the region.”

According to Jim Dalley, business and community development manager for the utility, teaming up with local, regional and state programs to fund projects, “can maximize the leverage of the revolving loan fund to the greatest extent possible.”

He said repayment of the first-generation loan “will be used to provide attractive financing packages for prospective businesses thinking of expanding or relocating to this area.” – JEFF FEINGOLD

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