Governor Reeves announces Treasury Awards for four RESTORE Projects
JACKSON, Miss. – Governor Tate Reeves today announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued grant awards for four Mississippi RESTORE projects.
The four projects were initially approved by Governor Reeves and will support workforce development and infrastructure benefitting the economy in the Gulf Coast Region.
“These four projects represent critical investments into Mississippi’s Gulf Coast,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Improving recreational opportunities, bolstering workforce development investments, and charting the future of economic development – these projects are helping to lay the groundwork for even more jobs and growth on our Gulf Coast. The Coast’s success is Mississippi’s success, and this is another great victory!”
“I have been involved in our Restoration work since 2017 and love when we get to begin work on new projects aimed at restoring our Coast, improving our environment, and stimulating economic growth and development,” said Chris Wells, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. “It is a pleasure to be a part of this rewarding work.”
The projects issued grant awards are:
Hancock County Fairgrounds Revitalization ($5,797,416) — This project will provide funding to enhance site amenities at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, including renovation of existing facilities, construction of on-site cottages and cabins and infrastructure expansion. The estimated timeline for implementation of this project is three years from time of award.
Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center ($1,536,289) — This project will support site capacity at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center by adding safety and security measures such as installation of additional parking area lighting with high efficiency LED lighting, installation of exterior security camera systems, and increasing inventory of walk-through metal detectors and wands for event security. The expected timeline for this project is two years from the award date.
NOARC Commercial Proving Grounds for Space to Seafloor Environmental Monitoring ($1,647,363) — This project will provide the National Oceans and Applications Research Center (NOARC) with funding for workforce development through job creation. In support of its partnership with the Pearl River Community College (PRCC), NOARC will develop a dual-use commercial proving ground in the Mississippi Sound for autonomous systems which includes performance testing and validation for underwater and aerial drones in the Gulf Coast Region. The proving grounds would provide a training venue for students entering these fields and would create a workforce pipeline for local students learning the latest autonomous systems technology to the companies testing these technologies in Mississippi. The expected timeline to implement this project is 2 ½ years from time of the award.
Hancock County Technology Park Economic Development Program ($4,866,966) — The purpose of this program is to meet demand and growth of existing tenants as well as technology companies looking to locate around the aerospace, aviation, and defense cluster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These activities may include, but are not limited to, engineering and design, permitting and construction, including site preparation.
These projects are part of Mississippi’s Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) which, on the 2021 amendment, included six new projects (including the four above) and four modifications to existing projects totaling $37,570,000 ($32.23M for the new projects and $5.34M for the modifications). The projects were recommendations made to the governor by the Governor’s Gulf Coast Advisory Committee in continued response to recovery from the BP Oil Spill.
The RESTORE Act requires the state, through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, to prepare the MIP for Direct Component Funding, which is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
MDEQ is the recipient of these grants from the Treasury and will issue sub-awards to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, and the NOARC for implementation of the projects. Some of the eligible activities that can be included in the state’s MIP are: restoration and protection of natural resources; mitigation of damage to natural resources; workforce development and job creation; improvements to state parks; infrastructure projects, including ports; coastal flood protection; and promotion of tourism and Gulf seafood.