EDA: $16 Million Invested to Construct a Disaster Preparedness, Recovery Education, and Training Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $16 million grant to Ecoexploratorio, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico, to construct a disaster preparedness, recovery education, and training center and ensure continuity of operations during natural disasters. This EDA grant will be matched with $4 million in local investment.

“The Biden Administration is committed to helping Puerto Rico develop disaster-resilient infrastructure ahead of future storms,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This investment will enhance the region’s ability to withstand and recover from future disasters by providing capacity-building opportunities and developing resiliency.”

“EDA plays an important role in supporting locally-driven disaster recovery and resiliency plans,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will support construction of the Ecoexploratorio Resilience Institute, the first vertical evacuation tsunami-proof building, helping to ensure the local economy continues to thrive in the event of future natural disasters.”

This 60,000-square foot, multi-purpose structure will provide local businesses with administrative offices, a reference center, a cafeteria, and other services necessary to provide continuity of operations during a natural disaster.

“For over 5 years the EcoExploratorio (EcoEx) in Puerto Rico has been crucial in supporting STEM education initiatives on the Island,” said Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón. “This allocation will empower EcoEx to continue branching out by funding the construction of a new facility, the Ecoexploratorio Resilience Institute, allowing the organization to strengthen their engagement on disaster response efforts in the community. Island residents understand the importance of preparedness and this installation will support responses related to future natural disasters. I will continue supporting EcoEx from Congress as best I can, as well as STEM education for current and future generations.”

This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

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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