- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Agriculture Department has announced more than $4 million in grants and loans for four rural development projects in Tennessee.

The largest loan is for $2 million to build a manufacturing plant in New Tazewell. According to the USDA, the pass-through loan will go through the Powell Valley Electric Cooperative to Homesteader, Inc., a trailer manufacturer.

Homesteader plans to build an 80,000-square-foot facility and purchase manufacturing equipment to meet the growing demand for its products. The investment is expected to create up to 100 new jobs over the next three or four years.

In Carthage, a $1.36 million loan will pass through from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation to Carthage Assisted Living, LLC, to help turn the former Carthage General Hospital into a 43-bed assisted living facility. It will be the only assisted living facility in the county and is expected to create 20 new jobs over the next three years.

In Selmer, the Pickwick Electric Cooperative has been awarded a $1 million pass-through loan to the Selmer/McNairy County Industrial Development Board. The board will use the loan to purchase a foreclosed building that it will lease to Monogram Refrigeration, LLC, to expand its facilities in the county.

The refrigerator manufacturer is a division of General Electric. The expansion is expected to create up to 42 new jobs with more possible in the future.

In addition to the loans, which are all for 10-year terms at zero percent interest, the city of Brownsville received a grant for $45,436 to help build a regional farmers market. The market is expected to build a stronger local food system and increase employment in the area.

Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien announced the awards on Thursday. The Tennessee loans and grants are part of a larger package of rural development projects across the country totaling $17.6 million.

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