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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.2 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Tourism Industry in Muskingum County, Ohio

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to The Wilds, Cumberland, Ohio, to build a 60-acre recreational vehicle campground at the wildlife conservation center in Muskingum County, Ohio. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant will help attract tourists to 10,000-acre park, which is located on reclaimed coal mine land along the Appalachian Byway. The EDA investment will be matched with $700,000 in local funds and is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 25 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivers federal resources to communities to ensure our nation not only recovers from the pandemic, but builds a better America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in The Wilds will boost tourism and outdoor recreation at the animal safari park, as well as other local tourist destinations in eastern Ohio, and help bring back jobs to the region.”

“The travel and tourism industry is a critical economic driver for many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment in Muskingum County at one of the largest wildlife conservation centers in North America is an excellent opportunity to leverage a regional asset and build greater economic resiliency in the region’s growing tourism industry.”

“Ohioans depend on access to parks for outdoor recreation, community events, and local jobs,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “This funding from the American Rescue Plan will support the local economy and protect our natural resources for future generations.”

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in grants to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The two programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

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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