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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.9 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Infrastructure Improvements to Boost Tourism in Stearns, Kentucky

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.9 million grant to McCreary County Heritage Foundation, Inc., Stearns, Kentucky, for revitalization projects and infrastructure upgrades needed to boost the region’s tourism economy. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will support revitalization of the county museum and local businesses while providing related infrastructure improvements, including drainage, walkways, paving, and other amenities to support increased tourism. This EDA grant will be matched with $600,000 in local funds.

“President Biden recognizes the vital contribution the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina 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 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,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “These upgrades will help attract visitors to this historic area and bolster a business district hit hard by the pandemic.”

“Kentucky’s tourism industry is essential to the overall success of our commonwealth, and this investment will help fuel economic growth in the community of Stearns and beyond,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “Visitors and Kentuckians alike will benefit from these upgrades while traveling to experience Stearns’ rich heritage and unique outdoor recreational opportunities.”

“Seated at the state border, McCreary County is a gateway to southern Kentucky. We have been working diligently to revitalize and preserve the history of Stearns to boost the tourism economy, and this EDA grant will go a long way to renovate some of the buildings downtown,” said Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05). “I am thankful for investments like this from the EDA, as we work to create jobs and build on the resources we have in southern Kentucky.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD). EDA funds LCADD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in 2021 to all 50 states and territories. The two programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. 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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