Blue Ridge Energy Approves $222,000 in USDA REDLG Funds for Little River Fire Department

LENOIR, NC (November 17, 2020) — Residents of the Oak Hill community will benefit from a fire department expansion for Little River Fire Department made possible by a $222,000 Rural Economic Development Loan.

The loan was recently approved by Blue Ridge Energy with loan funds originally awarded to the cooperative through the government’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG). As part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), REDLG enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds and grants to qualified entities. It is an important tool in bolstering the economies of rural America, which are typically more challenged in attracting jobs and quality, affordable access to vital resources such as emergency response.

Little River Fire Dept. will use the funds to help construct a 3,600 square foot addition to its existing fire station, which will include space for rescue vehicles and equipment as well as restrooms, additional sleeping quarters, and a gear washer and dryer. The project will also require re-grading the existing parking area and repairing or replacing concrete areas around the fire department.

“Blue Ridge Energy is extremely pleased to be able to assist our local communities to provide critical services like fire and emergency response,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Energy. “The cooperative has a long history of helping make life better in our communities. We are excited to be able to leverage these USDA funds to provide much needed help to rural fire departments like Little River and we will continue offering them through our revolving loan fund,” said Johnson.

Payments on the zero-interest loan will be placed into a Blue Ridge Energy revolving loan fund to be used for future opportunities to improve communities in the cooperative’s service area with projects like Little River’s expansion and other quality of life initiatives.

Blue Ridge Energy serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. Learn more at or on the cooperative’s social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information on the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, please contact Grey Scheer at 1-800-451-5474.