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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.2 Million for Trail Upgrades to Boost Tourism and Create Jobs in Columbia, South Carolina

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.2 million grant to the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, Columbia, South Carolina, for completion of the Lower Saluda Greenway, a recreational trail.

This project will provide for construction of two miles of trail and related infrastructure, boosting the tourism economy in a region impacted by the closure of a nuclear energy facility. This EDA grant will be matched with $1.9 million in local funds.

“President Biden is committed to supporting local efforts to create new opportunity and jobs in communities impacted by nuclear plant closures,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This investment will provide the infrastructure Columbia needs to create jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector and generate economic resilience.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support Columbia’s strategy to grow the local economic base through tourism and infrastructure improvements designed to create jobs,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will broaden and grow the local economy following the recent closure of the McMeekin Station Power Plant.”

“The Lower Saluda Greenway will have a significant economic impact on our community and greatly improve quality of life here in the Midlands. I am thrilled for the success of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission and look forward to the project’s completion,” said Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02).

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG). EDA funds CMCOG 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 being funded under EDA’s Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program. Closures of nuclear power plants throughout the United States have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base. EDA has a strong history of working with communities facing structural economic adjustments, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures. In FY 2020, EDA is deploying $15 million appropriated to the agency to support communities impacted by nuclear plant closures.

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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