USDA AWARD SUPPORTS EFFORT TO RECONSTRUCT RAFT ISLAND BRIDGE
12, 2011 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development approved a
Direct Loan of $1,849,400 and a Guaranteed Loan for $2,893,000 for the
reconstruction of the Raft Island Improvement Association’s (RIIA) aging timber
bridge built in 1957.
Development funds will be used to replace the existing bridge that serves as
sole access to Raft
Island. The island is in an unincorporated area of Pierce County
and serves as residence for approximately 500 individuals. The project could
begin in 2013 pending final approval of the bridge plans and the financing plan
by the members of the Raft Island Improvement Association. The 788-foot timber bridge serves approximately 200 homes
on nearly 200 acres. As a private
island, the membership manages and maintains the roads, bridge and community
formal awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday,
September 20 at 1:30 pm at the community’s “South Beach”
located next to the bridge. "The funding
for this project further demonstrates USDA Rural Development’s commitment to
improve the quality of life for rural residents by ensuring that rural
communities benefit from safe and reliable infrastructure such as this bridge,”
said Mario Villanueva, USDA Rural Development Washington State Director.
Raft Island Improvement Association is currently working with a local bank to
secure the loan guarantee funds for the project that could begin in 2013. The USDA-backed
loan will be paid back over 30 years.
Patty Murray, Congressman Norm DIcks and Senator Derek Kilmer provided support letters
for the project back in 2010 when Raft
Island applied for funds.
Congressman Dicks stated, “This federal
loan, awarded through the U.S.
Dept. of Agriculture’s Rural Development program that supports essential public
facilities, assures continued access to Raft Island
for all of the residents and visitors. It’s an example of a small
program that can leverage substantial private investment as it helps sustain
communities such as Raft
Island. I was proud
to support the Raft Island Improvement Association’s successful proposal
for this vital infrastructure project that keeps these homeowners safely
connected to the rest of the Gig
Harbor community. “
“Committed to the future of rural communities”,
the USDA Rural Development administers and manages
more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facilities
programs. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of
rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the
quality of life in rural America.
For more information, contact the Raft Island Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (253) 265-1818.