BATON ROUGE, La (press release) – From Louisiana Economic Development:
A north Louisiana bioscience center and a New Orleans Jazz Museum expansion have been awarded a combined $2.7 million in American Rescue Plan grants announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
EDA committed $1.8 million to support construction of a new Biomedical Research and Innovation Park on the University of Louisiana Monroe campus. State and local matching funds will elevate the total grant value to $3.6 million. The New Orleans Jazz Museum will receive $900,000 from EDA for improvements to its French Quarter site; an additional $225,000 in local funds will bring the total grant value to $1.1 million.
“I would like to thank President Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo for awarding us these American Rescue Plan funds,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We are committed to diversifying our economy and creating good-paying jobs in key industries like life sciences, and this biotechnology facility has the potential to be a transformative investment for the people of northeast Louisiana. New Orleans is widely celebrated and recognized as the birthplace of jazz, and investing ARP funds into this entertainment mecca will help ensure that Louisiana’s tourism and visitor sector will continue to grow and thrive. These grants will have immediate and long-term economic, cultural and educational benefits for our state.”
The projects will be funded by separate American Rescue Plan programs focused on accelerating the post-pandemic recovery of different economic sectors. The biomedical park grant is part of the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program dedicated to innovative economic development projects designed to address local needs.
The proposed 45,000 square foot facility will be built adjacent to ULM’s School of Pharmacy. Its mission is to support the growth of the biotechnical industry in north Louisiana by developing a physical hub for start-ups and existing life sciences companies to develop their business models. Total capital investment is projected to reach $34 million; EDA and matching funds are dedicated to infrastructure and site development. Upon completion, the project is expected to create 175 new jobs in the Monroe area.
“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” Raimondo said. “This EDA investment will support development of a lab to provide a place for new biotechnology startups to develop new businesses, leading to a stronger regional economy.”
Improvements to the Jazz Museum will receive funding from the ARP’s Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation program, designed to accelerate the recovery of communities whose economies rely heavily on those sectors.
Located in the former U.S. Mint in New Orleans, the Jazz Museum plans to upgrade its facility by remodeling the first-floor cafe, building an outdoor stage and making other improvements. The Louisiana Museum Foundation estimates the investment will support a total of 55 new and retained jobs, and could generate as much as $33 million in private investments by attracting new visitors to the city.
“The travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sector is a critical economic driver for many communities and the Economic Development Administration is pleased to support community-led development strategies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will strengthen New Orleans’ tourism sector, providing economic recovery and a more resilient tourism industry for the region.”