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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.8 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Cultural Tourism on Oahu, Hawaii

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.8 million grant to Hi‘ipaka, LLC, Haleiwa, Hawaii, to boost tourism through the renovation and expansion of an important Native Hawaiian cultural site and popular tourist attraction on the island of Oahu. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan’s Indigenous Communities program.

This project will support the renovation and expansion of the Waimea Valley Center by adding cover for the center’s luau area, constructing an outdoor native plant learning facility, and other improvements. This grant is expected to create or retain nearly 240 jobs and generate $1.2 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 EDA investment will support increased use of a popular visitor attraction on Oahu, growing the region’s tourist economy while preserving an important Native Hawaiian cultural area.”

“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 support local businesses by enhancing and improving the visitor experience on the North Shore of Oahu.”

“It’s the people, place and culture that make Hawaiʻi a special place, one that others want to visit. This investment in the Waimea Valley Center will ensure that the Native Hawaiian culture is shared with visitors to the North Shore,” said Governor David Y. Ige.

“Today’s announcement will create new jobs and grow our local economy on O‘ahu while helping to preserve and share Native Hawaiian culture – something everyone visiting the island should understand,” said Senator Brian Schatz.

“Democrats in Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to help every single community, including those historically left behind, recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “I’m glad to see this funding being used to support Native Hawaiian communities on Oahu while balancing support for tourism and our local economy. As we continue working to recover from COVID-19, I’ll keep working to secure federal funding to support our communities and economy.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding specifically to support the needs of Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities. The program supports these partners to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future. Indigenous communities are also eligible and encouraged to apply under all of EDA’s other programs. 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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