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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.2 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Boost Retail Food Sector in Woonsocket, Rhode Island

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.2 million grant to the city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to support business expansion, workforce development, and entrepreneurship efforts designed to boost the retail food sector. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will facilitate the acquisition and conversion of an existing facility for use as a public market by retail food businesses and will also support workforce development and technical assistance that will drive the growth of the retail food sector. This EDA grant will be matched with $793,266 in local funds and is expected to create 64 jobs and generate $200,000 in local 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 for the future,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This project will strengthen Woonsocket’s local food system while simultaneously supporting the diversification of the local economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will facilitate the acquisition and renovation of a 7,500-square-foot commercial building for use as a public market space, provide local businesses with the technical assistance they need to succeed, and ensure that the local workforce has the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs.”

“This federal funding exemplifies the strength of our partnership with our cities and towns and will help to continue Rhode Island’s economic momentum coming out of the pandemic through support for our small businesses and workforce development efforts,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I’m grateful to Commerce Secretary Raimondo and the Economic Development Administration for their investment in Rhode Island and am excited to see the results for Woonsocket.”

“Woonsocket needs more fresh food retail options and this new public marketplace will provide a vital access point to fresh, affordable, and healthy food,” said Senator Jack Reed. “This new federal funding is good news for shoppers, food retailers, and the community. I am pleased to help deliver federal funds to expand food choice in the city while also helping local businesses compete and create jobs. This project has the right ingredients for success and I commend Secretary Raimondo for her leadership in boosting economic health and wellness through smart, targeted investments like this.”

“Congratulations to Mayor Baldelli-Hunt on securing this significant federal grant to create a lively addition to Woonsocket’s culinary scene where residents will be able to find fresh, healthy produce and support local food startups. I was glad to back the City’s application,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Our American Rescue Plan continues to make job-creating investments in Rhode Island’s economy.”

“This funding, made available through the American Rescue Plan, is an investment in Rhode Islanders and our community’s future,” said Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01). “By diversifying Woonsocket’s economy, we are not just working to recover from the economic pains caused by COVID-19 but building back in a way that is more equitable and creating an economy that works for everyone. I look forward to visiting the new market and small businesses it will house.”

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. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022.

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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