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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.8 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance for Water Infrastructure Improvements to Support Steel Industry in Osceola, Arkansas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.8 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the city of Osceola, Arkansas, to make water and wastewater improvements to support the region’s growing steel sector. This EDA grant, to be matched with $955,405 in local funds, is expected to create 100 jobs and generate $2 billion in private investment.

“President Biden is dedicated to creating new opportunities for business and industry expansion as our country builds back better from the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Osceola will provide necessary water infrastructure improvements to support business expansion within the steel industry, leading to a stronger regional economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to supporting communities as they develop targeted economic development strategies in recovering from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will provide for the installation of force mains in support of a new pump station, increasing the city’s water capacity that will allow the local steel industry to expand.”

“As the steel industry in Northeast Arkansas continues to expand, our infrastructure must keep up,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “This investment in Osceola will help the steelmakers to meet the demand for their product, and it will put a lot of people to work. This is a welcome boost to the region.”

“Modern water infrastructure is a critical component in our communities’ ability to grow economically and sustain existing jobs and industries,” said Senator John Boozman. “This grant will help ensure the City of Osceola is well-prepared to manage and supply water resources and ensure the long-term viability of the region’s dynamic steel sector.”

“Funding for this project will expand the capacity of the current wastewater infrastructure while providing sewer service to all existing and future users without any excessive rate increases,” said Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01). “This will enable the steel industry in Mississippi County to continue growing without causing additional strain on the local system. Our steel industry is critical to the Arkansas economy and essential to our national security. I thank Secretary Raimondo for understanding the importance of this pressing issue in Northeast Arkansas.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD). EDA funds EAPDD 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 funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

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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