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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.4 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Tourism Growth in Smithers, West Virginia

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.4 million grant to the Upper Kanawha Valley Strategic Initiatives Council, Smithers, West Virginia, for construction of the River Cities Trail and the Oakland Riverfront Park, and for renovations to the Montgomery Marina. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will support outdoor recreation and boost the local tourism industry by bringing new visitors to the region, its businesses, and local attractions. This EDA grant will be matched with $350,386 in local funds and is expected to create 53 jobs, retain 28 jobs and generate $5.6 million 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 Raimondo. “This project will create new outdoor recreational opportunities and tourist amenities in the community, attracting visitors to the area, its restaurants, and local businesses.”

“The travel and tourism industry is an important part of many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will provide new outdoor recreational attractions that Smithers needs to support local businesses and increase tourism in the community.”

“West Virginia continues to see the benefits of critical American Rescue Plan investments that drive economic development and create good-paying, long-term jobs,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “I’m pleased the EDA is supporting these projects in the Upper Kanawha Valley to strengthen the local economy, expand outdoor recreation opportunities and spur sustainable tourism growth. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this funding for years to come, and I will continue working with the EDA to support economic growth across the Mountain State.”

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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