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$1.7M federal grant to bolster Colbert County tourism

WASHINGTON — The Colbert County Tourism Bureau in Tuscumbia will be the beneficiary of a $1.7 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant.

The grant, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered through the department’s Economic Development Administration, will be used to build a visitors center. The grant will be matched with $829,000 in local funds.

The project will see the construction of a separate visitors facility for the Helen Keller birthplace and other local attractions, according to a news release from the EDA.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivers federal resources to communities to ensure our nation not only recovers from the pandemic, but builds a better America for the future,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “This project will provide the infrastructure Colbert County needs to stimulate its tourism economy.”

According to the department, the project’s regional planning efforts were led by the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments.

Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, touched on the potential impact of the EDA’s investment in Colbert County.

“The travel and tourism industry is an important part of many local economies across the country,” said Castillo. “This EDA investment will improve the visitor experience at the Helen Keller birthplace, the Tennessee Valley Art Museum, and other local attractions, creating new economic opportunity in the region.”

In a statement lauding the grant, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) spoke to the “culturally rich area” of Tuscumbia.

“Colbert County has so much to offer. From Helen Keller’s birthplace to the Muscle Shoals Sound that continues to influence American music, there is so much to see and do,” said Aderholt. “I’m glad this new center will help even more people explore this culturally rich area of Alabama.”

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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