DIXON, N.M. (AP) - A northern New Mexico village is a model for accessing federal funding, leading to new jobs along with a grocery co-op, vineyard and one of the nation’s top libraries.
Rural development funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone toward eight projects since 2009 in the community of Dixon, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican (https://bit.ly/2i0RDGl).
About 30 jobs have been created as a result.
USDA official Terry Brunner says other New Mexico communities could follow Dixon’s lead.
“What’s unique about Dixon is there is a lot of community involvement and leadership,” Brunner added. “They never seem to run out of ideas and things they want to do and ways to innovate.”
Federal loans can have lower interest rates and longer pay-back periods than private sources of funding.
The library project began in 2002 with $200,000 raised by residents and supporters.
A federal loan and matching grant followed.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services ranked the Embudo Valley Library among the top five nationally in 2015.
Federal grants helped Dixon Market make upgrades and repairs and also brought a deli to the village.
“Once something like that is successful, it breeds more success,” said Nelson Rhodes, a general manager at the market. “People gain confidence in the ability to get grants and complete projects. It inspires them to think of what they can do next.”
The library rents space to the market.
“The money goes to support the library,” said local artist Shel Neymark, chairman of the library board. “The better the co-op does, the better the library does.”
La Mesa Organic Farm owners Mesa and Molly Ruiz plan to use federal grant money to expand.
“The grant is structured really well,” Mesa said. “It forces us as a business to use that money in the community to hire new employees.”
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com
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