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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.6 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Small Businesses and Economic Recovery and Diversification Efforts in Wayne County, Michigan

Award is Part of the Department of Commerce’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.6 million grant to the Downriver Community Conference, Southgate, Michigan, to support the Downriver Riverfront Communities Economic Recovery Implementation Project. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan and EDA’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment.

This EDA investment will help the Downriver Community Conference create a new regional economic development manager position to oversee a community-inclusive strategic planning process to redevelop two coal plant sites and establish a new small business technical assistance program to help diversify the local economy. The EDA investment will be matched with $401,514 in local funds.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan offers direct relief to American communities as they work to build a better America for the future,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will spur economic diversification and build a more robust regional economy in a state that has been impacted by the declining use of coal.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support locally-driven strategies to boost economic recovery efforts in Michigan,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment in the Downriver communities along the Detroit River will support small businesses, build regional resiliency and ensure that economic prosperity reaches all pockets of the country.”

“This economic development grant will help the Downriver community redevelop two coal plant sites and establish a new program to support local small businesses,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful for this partnership with the Economic Development Administration and will work with anyone to grow Michigan’s economy, create good-paying jobs, and invest in every region of our great state. Along with this grant, we will continue making investments to ensure that no worker is left behind during any economic transition we face.”

“I was proud to help pass the American Rescue Plan to ensure that as our communities continue to rebuild stronger from the pandemic, they can do so in a way that ensures long-term growth and resiliency,” said Senator Gary Peters. “This federal support will help Downriver communities strengthen and diversify their regional economy to bolster economic opportunity and create good-paying jobs.”

“Global climate change is real and impacting our communities in many ways, and as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we must be mindful of the effects on communities who have historically depended on the coal economy,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12). “Looking towards the future, we want to ensure the sites of the current plants are safely cleaned up and restored to protect our environment and residents, while diversifying local business to maintain a strong economic base. This funding will help support those efforts, and the work of the Downriver Community Conference will have a positive impact on our local economy and quality of life. The Downriver communities are a great place to live, raise a family, and enjoy the outdoors, and this grant will help us protect and strengthen them.”

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.

EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities. 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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