April 27, 2016 Edition

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Chamber hosts first Lunch & Learn

Bryan Exum (right), area director with USDA Rural Development, visits with Walnut Ridge Administrative Assistant Sharon Henson at Thursday’s Lunch & Learn sponsored by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Gretchen Hunt

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce hosted the first of what Chamber Board Chair Dina Rose hopes will be a series of Lunch & Learn sessions on Thursday at the Lawrence County Meeting Room.

Representatives of USDA Rural Development were on hand to share information and answer questions about programs that could help residents, municipalities, non-profits, businesses and developers in Lawrence County.

Bryan Exum, area director with USDA Rural Development, shared information on loans for multi-family housing, farm labor housing and single-family housing, as well as grants for health and safety repairs for elderly homeowners.

Tim Smith, business and cooperative programs director, talked about economic development in rural areas and ways Rural Development can help through its business and industry guaranteed loan program, as well as Rural Business Development Grants, which can be awarded to non-profits and municipalities to assist with business development.

The final speaker was Stephen Lagasse, community programs director, who shared about community facility direct loans and community facility grants. He said Rural Development has been able to assist many communities, including those in Lawrence County, with things like fire trucks, police cars and infrastructure improvements.

The three also answered questions from attendees and encouraged anyone with questions about how Rural Development might be able to help with a project to call them.

"If we don’t have a program that will fit the need, there is a good chance we might be able to refer you to another agency that can help," Exum said.

Anyone who has suggestions for a future Lunch & Learn topic is encouraged to contact the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce at 886-3232.

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