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Contact: Public Affairs Department, (202) 482-4085
Monday, May 13, 2013

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $8.7 Million to Support Disaster Recovery in Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

WASHINGTON — Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced $8.7 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) investments for economic recovery in Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands following natural disasters in 2011.

“The Obama administration is committed to helping communities impacted by natural disasters rebound and rebuild stronger than ever,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “The EDA grants announced today will strengthen local capacities in Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands by rebuilding their infrastructure, supporting local industry, creating jobs, and enhancing their ability to respond to future disasters.”

The investments announced today include:

In Connecticut, a $200,000 EDA grant to the city of Bristol supports the Bristol-Plainville-Plymouth Pequabuck River Flooding Study that will evaluate flooding and its effects on economic development in the communities of Bristol, Plainville, and Plymouth. These communities were severely impacted by Tropical Storm Irene and other natural disasters in 2011.

In Connecticut, an $800,000 EDA grant to the city of Stamford supports rehabilitation of the Dyke Lane Pumping Station, which is part of the Stamford Hurricane Barrier. The pumping station, which protects a thriving commercial business district, was weakened by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. According to grantee estimates, its rehabilitation will support the long-term creation of 1,653 new jobs and attract $32 million in private investment in the city’s business district.

In Illinois, a $2 million EDA grant to the city of Savanna funds demolition of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and its replacement with a new, modern facility. The existing wastewater treatment plant, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, suffered significant damage from flooding in 2011. According to grantee estimates, the new facility will create 20 new jobs and support the retention of 220 jobs.

In Missouri, a $265,616 EDA grant to the city of Poplar Bluff funds the construction of storm water drainage infrastructure for the Poplar Bluff Industrial Park, which was damaged and temporarily closed due to flooding in 2011.

In New York, a $3.4 million EDA grant to the Culinary Institute of America in  Hyde Park, New York, will support the Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance, which will operate a new training facility for agribusinesses located in the Hudson Valley. The region’s agriculture-based economy suffered severe damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. According to grantee estimates, the new facility will generate up to $5.1 million in new revenue in the Hudson Valley and will support 32 full-time jobs.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, a $2 million EDA grant to the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority supports the establishment of a disaster revolving loan fund for small and medium-sized enterprises. The fund will assist businesses affected by natural disasters to maintain operations and retain jobs. The U.S. Virgin Islands suffered severe damage from Tropical Storm Otto in October 2010.

These projects are part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.

Within the context of the administration's National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and the leveraging of existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

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 makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.