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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $4.8 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for New Bikeway to Support Tourism in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4.8 million grant to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for construction of the Blackstone River Bikeway. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will expand tourism and outdoor recreational activities by connecting Pawtucket and Slater Mill Historic Park. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.4 million in state and local funds and is expected to create 538 jobs and generate $284 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is dedicated to supporting the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sector as it works to recover and rebuild following the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will attract additional outdoor enthusiasts to Pawtucket, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”

“The travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sector is a critical economic driver for many communities and the Economic Development Administration is pleased to support community-led development strategies designed to boost tourism and build a better America,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will provide for construction of the bike path, street lighting, pedestrian crossing signals and related necessities, expanding local recreational opportunities and building economic resiliency.”

“Constructing and connecting bikeways throughout Rhode Island is a great way to amplify our green space and spur economic development,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The Blackstone River Bikeway will encourage residents to get outdoors, create jobs, and boost economic recovery in Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley. I thank the EDA for investing in Rhode Island and its economic rebound.”

“I have always seen a comprehensive, connected bikeway as complimentary to the national historic park because it lets people explore the beauty and history of the Blackstone Valley,” said Senator Jack Reed. “We’ve been working on this effort for many years and I commend Secretary Raimondo and Mayor Grebien for helping us get it across the finish line. The bikeway segments already in place are a hit and this federal funding will expand, enhance, and link the Blackstone Valley Bikeway and make it a safe and scenic thoroughfare for cyclists, joggers, pedestrians, and visitors alike. Thanks to this new EDA grant, this shovel-ready project will boost tourism and recreation and promote healthy living.”

“The new Blackstone River Bikeway will draw more visitors to Pawtucket’s downtown and historic sites,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This project, which was funded through our American Rescue Plan, marks another milestone in the successful decades-long cleanup of the Blackstone. Congratulations to Mayor Grebien on making this happen.”

“The American Rescue Plan continues to deliver for Rhode Island,” said Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01). “This $4.8 million grant will help construct several missing segments of the Blackstone River Bikeway, supporting tourism and outdoor recreation, while also creating economic development opportunities in downtown Pawtucket and along the riverfront. This smart, eco-friendly investment will create an estimated 538 jobs and generate an additional $284 million in private investment – a great example of federal funding at work.”

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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