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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $585,534 in American Rescue Plan Funds to Boost Tourism by Restoring the Historic Liberty Theater in La Grande, Oregon

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $585,534 grant to the Liberty Theatre Foundation, Inc., La Grande, Oregon to support the recovery of the local tourism sector through the revitalization of a historic La Grande landmark. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will support restoration of the historic Liberty Theater, helping to attract visitors to downtown La Grande. The project will be matched with $218,887 in local funds and is expected generate $150,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will support creation of a destination attraction in downtown La Grande, benefitting the local economy.”

“Community mainstays like La Grande’s Liberty Theater are a must to bring Oregonians together in a common space where they can enjoy the arts and even more local cultural events,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “I’m glad this historic theater is being restored by community leaders and that federal resources I fought for in the American Rescue Plan are being invested in this project. I look forward to seeing the benefits from this investment ripple out through Eastern Oregon.”

“The theater and the arts are important ways for people to connect with their neighbors and communities through performances, lecture series, and events,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “This EDA funding to support the restoration of the historic Liberty Theater in La Grande will go a long way in attracting residents and visitors alike and boost the local economy, while bringing back a piece of the town’s history in the process. I look forward to the completion of the restoration process and the many benefits this project will bring to La Grande.”

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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