U.S. Division of Commerce invests $2.5 Million to spice up tourism and outside recreation in Valdez

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City of Valdez.

JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) – On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department of Economic Development Administration will award a $2.5 million grant to the city of Valdez to boost tourism by supporting the development of the Supported outdoor recreation infrastructure and facilities at Meals Hill.

The scholarship is funded by the American Rescue Plan. The project will help build bike lanes, hiking trails and other visitor facilities at Meals Hill to attract new visitors and spur tourism-related business growth. The grant is matched with $633,184 in local funding and is expected to create or maintain 115 jobs and generate $22.7 million in private investment, the grantee estimates.

“President Biden recognizes the vital contribution that the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Valdez will help the region’s critical tourism sector not only recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but also build stronger for the future.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will create new outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors to Valdez and create the potential for new economic opportunities and jobs.”

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Program.

The EDA awarded $510 million to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The two programs aim to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

On May 26, the EDA officially closed all of its US bailout programs to applications.

The $3 billion in program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30th.