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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.4 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Outdoor Recreation Sector in Northwest Michigan

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.4 million grant to the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, Traverse City, Michigan, to boost the outdoor recreation sector by enhancing trail capacity along the Manistee County Rural Communities Multi-Use Trail. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will extend the Betsie Valley Trail and construct a bridge over Bear Creek that will provide direct access from local communities to the trail. The EDA investment will be matched with $347,820 in local funds and is expected to create or retain 65 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 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. “This project will enhance the outdoor recreational attractions in Manistee and Benzie counties in Northwest Michigan that will draw tourists, boost the local tourism industry and create jobs in areas that need them.”

“This grant to support Northern Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry will help us continue growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and investing in every region of the state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The investment will create or retain 65 good-paying jobs in Traverse City to extend the Betsie Valley Trail and build a bridge over Bear Creek. Earlier this year, I signed the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, which made the largest one-time investment in our state and local parks in state history, bolstering countless tourism and recreation businesses across Michigan. Today’s grant builds on that plan to invest in pure Michigan and will help us keep moving forward.”

“Tourists come from all over to enjoy Betsie Valley Trail’s breathtaking views and outdoor activities. This important investment in our recreational infrastructure will help boost the region’s tourism economy” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.

“Michiganders know that our public lands are not only key natural and economic resources – they are part of our state’s DNA,” said Senator Gary Peters. “These funds I helped secure as part of the American Rescue Plan will make investments in Manistee and Benzie counties that will enhance local trails, boost tourism and support 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 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. 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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