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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $517,924 in American Rescue Plan Funds to Promote Travel and Tourism Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Award is Part of the Department of Commerce’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $517,924 grant to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to promote travel and tourism in North Carolina communities located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will help local communities develop strategies to attract visitors to the North Carolina stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway to stimulate economic growth. This EDA grant will be matched with $129,618 in local funds.

“The travel and tourism industry is the linchpin of many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support communities adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway rebuild from the pandemic.”

“It’s no surprise people come from all over to see our state’s natural beauty along the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Tourism is a major economic force in North Carolina and this funding will benefit local economies in the western part of our state.”

“I’m pleased to welcome an additional $517,924 investment to the Triad thanks to the American Rescue Plan. This investment will enhance tourism related to the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway and it will attract economic development to our region,” said Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-06). “This funding is in addition to the $74 million that Forsyth County received as a part of the American Rescue Plan last year that helped to get people vaccinated, reopen schools safely, and get people back to work.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southwestern Commission, Land of Sky Regional Government, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Foothills Regional Commission, and High Country Council of Governments. EDA funds these organizations to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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