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USDA grants $421K for economic dev’t in towns of Barceloneta, Naguabo

The US Department of Agriculture is awarding $421,295 to the towns of Barceloneta and Naguabo, to provide placemaking and planning assistance to help improve social, cultural, and economic structures for people living in rural communities.

The agency is making the awards under its Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) and in Puerto Rico, it partnered with Foundation for Puerto Rico and Center for Habitat Reconstruction Inc. to distribute the funding.

Foundation for Puerto Rico was awarded $250,000 to provide the residents of Naguabo technical assistance and training to create a plan with actionable strategies to design distinctive public spaces, events and revitalization efforts that will contribute to the community well-being.

“This project will engage residents, local small business owner, community-based organization, state government agencies and the municipality of Naguabo to develop Route 191 (Destino 191) Placemaking plan,” Luis R. García, acting state director of USDA Rural Development in Puerto Rico, confirmed.

The plan will include community-based assessments of critical infrastructure including water, health and emergency services, power utilities, broadband access, and rural ways.

Meanwhile, the Center for Habitat Reconstruction Inc. was awarded $171,295 to provide Barceloneta rural communities support to identify and map their assets, challenges, and opportunities. The center will focus on ways communities and use vacant and abandoned spaces.

The center will organize planning activities to create placemaking plans, outline communities wide-goals, strategies, and tasks, the USDA stated. The center also will help communities’ plans, assets, and prioritize pilot place making project. The assistance will help strengthen and expand partnerships to create and implements the plans.

“This fund will help the communities to improve the economy, social and cultural vitality through innovation, seed grants and expand assets to broadband in rural areas,” García said.

The assistance will support the communities for up to two years.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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