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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Polis Welcome $8.5 Million in U.S. Department of Commerce Grants to Support Economic Diversification Efforts in Northwest Colorado Coal Country

Aug 10, 2022

Federal grants will help communities attract new businesses, create new jobs, and diversify local economy

Denver — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Colorado Governor Jared Polis welcomed $8.5 million in grants from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support economic diversification efforts in coal communities in Northwest Colorado.

“When we visited Craig and Hayden this spring, we heard how important it is to diversify rural economies and create new jobs. Our Northwest Colorado communities are full of entrepreneurs and this EDA funding will help build even more resilience and create new opportunities in the region,” said Hickenlooper.

“When I’ve visited communities in Northwest Colorado over the years, I’ve heard concerns about what coal mine and power plant closures will mean for their main streets, schools, and way of life,” said Bennet. “These federal grants will help coal communities like Craig and Hayden attract new businesses, create new jobs, and diversify their local economies so they can thrive.”

“These federal grants will help create over 200 new good-paying jobs in Craig and Hayden and boost Colorado’s strong economy, and we appreciate Secretary Raimondo for supporting Colorado communities,” said Polis. “We recently made it nearly free to start a business, and these federal grants build on our work supporting hardworking Coloradans and expanding economic growth across our state.”

President Biden is committed to ensuring that our coal communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Through the American Rescue Plan Coal Communities Commitment and the Assistance to Coal Communities program, these EDA investments will create new opportunities for economic and industry diversification in Northwest Colorado.”

The EDA’s $8.5 million in grants will invest in two communities in Northwest Colorado:

  • Craig, Colorado will receive a $3.3 million grant to construct a multi-use park and river access corridor along the Yampa River to boost tourism and outdoor recreation. This EDA investment will be matched by $1.4 million in state and local funds and is expected to create 129 jobs and generate $16.3 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
  • Hayden, Colorado will receive a $5.2 million grant for roadway and water infrastructure to support development of an industrial park that will bring new businesses to the region. This EDA investment will be matched by $712,341 in state and local funds and is expected to create 79 jobs and generate $12 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

The Craig project is funded under EDA’s Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative, through which funds are awarded on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal. ACC projects support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

The Hayden project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

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