Sen. Brown Urges Sec. Vilsack to Commit Long-Term Resources to Northwest Ohio Counties Affected by June 5 Tornadoes

Federal Funds from USDA Could be Used to Rebuild Community Facilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to request the long-term commitment of resources by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the recovery efforts of several Northwest Ohio communities devastated by the June 5 tornadoes. USDA's Community Facilities Programs provide funds for the construction or repair of important community facilities for public use in rural areas - including hospitals, fire and public safety services, and other community-based initiatives.

"In light of the recent tornadoes in Northwest Ohio, I write to you today asking for your continued support and long-term commitment to rebuilding essential community facilities and providing necessary housing assistance in the affected area," Brown wrote. "As the communities work to restore and rebuild their homes, schools and businesses, your efforts and assistance are vital to their success."

On June 11, Brown received a briefing from emergency management officials and surveyed the damage caused to Millbury by the tornado. At a meeting at Lake Township Fire Station #2, Brown brought together community leaders with Tony Logan, State Director for USDA Rural Development. That same week, Brown, along with U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich and U.S. Reps. Bob Latta (OH-5) and Marcy Kaptur (OH-5), sent a letter to President Obama in support of Governor Ted Strickland's request for a federal major disaster declaration for several northwest Ohio communities.

A full copy of Brown's request to USDA follows.

June 21, 2010

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Dear Mr. Secretary:

In light of the recent tornadoes in Northwest Ohio, I write to you today asking for your continued support and long-term commitment to rebuilding essential community facilities and providing necessary housing assistance in the affected area.  As the communities work to restore and rebuild their homes, schools and businesses, your efforts and assistance are vital to their success.

On June 5, Wood, Fulton, Lucas and Ottawa counties reported that a tornado had touched down. Damage estimates are still being formulated, but more than one hundred homes have been destroyed, lives lost, and streets still remain riddled with debris.  I was able to visit the area soon after with Tony Logan, the State Director for USDA Rural Development, to survey the damage and meet with local officials, first responders, representatives from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio School Facilities Commission.  We saw firsthand the devastation of the local police station, high school, and numerous homes.

As a result of this unexpected tragedy, community residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations have banded together to provide unwavering support to those in need.  Cities and counties throughout the state have donated time and resources in the spirit of helping fellow Ohioans.         

To fully recover, Northwest Ohio requires USDA's Rural Development team to make a commitment to assisting the region's revitalization through the next several years.  The rebuilding of the communities' essential facilities, which is essential to the long-term wellbeing of local residents, requires a sustained commitment from USDA.

I look forward to our continued work in this area.

Sincerely,

 

Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

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