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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.5 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Tourism and Outdoor Recreation in Ely, Minnesota

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.5 million grant to the city of Ely, Minnesota, to construct the Ely Regional Trailhead Facility. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant will provide for amenities such as restrooms, vending machines, and common areas designed to welcome tourists to the region and its local businesses. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.2 million in local funds and is expected to create 75 jobs, retain 50 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, 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 Ely Regional Trailhead Facility will help enhance the region’s tourism industry and showcase local outdoor recreational opportunities.”

“Northern Minnesota has incredible natural beauty that attracts people from across the world,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “This funding is a true win-win, creating good-paying jobs and helping locals and visitors alike enjoy the outdoor recreation that Ely has to offer.”

“Minnesota is blessed with pristine natural landscapes and I’m always thrilled when we’re able to make them more accessible and inviting,” said Senator Tina Smith. “This investment, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will help support over 100 jobs while boosting the tourism industry and local economy in Ely. This facility will also be a great addition to the Mesabi Trail, which showcases the area all the way from Grand Rapids to Ely. I look forward to seeing the facility when it’s complete and will continue working with local leaders around Minnesota to protect and grow our outdoor recreation and tourism industries.”

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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