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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.3 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Expand Science and Discovery Center and Boost Tourism in Wichita, Kansas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.3 million grant to Exploration Place, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, to create an outdoor riverfront park at Exploration Place. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will provide the Exploration Place science and discovery center a space for new and expanded events, bringing new visitors to the city, its businesses, and attractions. This EDA grant will be matched with $313,997 in local funds and is expected to create 21 jobs, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden recognizes the vital contribution the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping this critical sector not only recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic but build back stronger and more equitably for the future.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The expanded outdoor space at Exploration Place will provide new opportunities to attract more tourists to Wichita, boosting the regional economy.”

“The outdoor riverfront park at Exploration Place will attract tourists to Wichita, create high-quality jobs for local residents, and provide more educational opportunities to our students,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “This investment will help our state’s economy continue to grow in a way that benefits every Kansan.”

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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