Federal Grants Help Rural Utah Town Create Businesses

Jan 23, 2014

Two Utah hotel owners are receiving money from the federal government to create jobs in rural Utah.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the funding will be used to support rural businesses that also support tourism.

The city of Price will oversee a $1 million dollar grant to help West River Hospitality build a hotel there.  Another $642,000 will go to the city of Morgan for another hotel. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien said the investment will create more than 70 jobs in Utah.

"If we are concerned about growing the national economy we need to be concerned about making smart investments in rural places,” O’Brien said. "In places like Utah the natural beauty attracts people who want to spend time there. With some investments then people who live in Utah are better able to capture that economic opportunity.” 

O'Brien said the USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides zero-interest loans to utilities that then lend funds to local businesses for projects, like the two Utah hotels, to create and retain employment in rural areas.

"People who want to spend time and enjoy the beauty, whether it is hiking, hunting, or skiing, it takes capitol to make sure the community can capture the opportunity of that interest. Captial is needed to build hotels, to build restaurants. It takes capital to support critical small businesses and critical jobs," O’Brien said.

Utah is among 15 states that will receive a total of $17.6 million in loans and grants through the USDA Rural Economic program.