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$23 Million Pandemic Relief Funds Available to Local Attractions and Business Districts

Lincoln, NE (October 21, 2021) City of Lincoln and Lancaster County officials today announced the availability of $23 million in assistance for local attractions and business districts impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  The funding is made available by the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The funding will be distributed in two ways:

  • The County Visitors Promotion Advisory Committee will distribute about $6 million to events and attractions that will draw people to Lincoln. The Committee advises the County Board in administering the proceeds of the County lodging taxes.
  • The City and County will then distribute up to $17 million through a competitive grant program.

“The leisure and hospitality industry nationwide experienced a revenue decline of about 24% due to the pandemic,” said Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “These federal funds provide us with opportunities to support attractions and areas that were hard hit or delayed by the pandemic but are now poised to make our city even more vibrant and enjoyable for our residents and for visitors.”

“I know that I join my colleagues at the City and the County when I say how proud I am of this community.  Lincoln is place full of community spirit and a welcoming, inviting culture that opens our doors to all kinds folks,” said County Commissioner Sean Flowerday. “That’s what makes this program so exciting. I’m eager to see all the ways our community will deploy American Rescue Plan dollars to add to our community’s vibrancy and success.”

“As a Member of the Visitors Promotion Advisory Committee, I heard the struggles of the tourism, travel, and hospitality industry throughout the pandemic,” said City Council Member Tammy Ward. “Like all of you, I mourned when we lost local businesses. Today, I celebrate that we will be able to use millions of dollars to make Lincoln’s local attractions and business districts come back stronger than ever.”

A request for Letters of Interest is available online at lincoln.ne.gov/ARP.  Applications are being accepted from nonprofits, such as foundations, sports associations, and arts and cultural organizations, as well as business districts recognized by the City of Lincoln. A committee of City and County officials and members of related boards and commissions will review the proposals. Proposals will be assessed on criteria including economic impact, connection to existing City and County planning, and ability to demonstrate a negative impact or delay due to the pandemic. Priority will be given to projects in low-income areas of the city that were hardest hit by the pandemic.  Funds may also be set aside for publicly owned projects.

Jeff Maul, Executive Director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “On behalf of the travel and tourism community, Lincoln residents, and all those future visitors who will discover Lincoln soon – thank you to the Mayor as well as the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners and our City Council members who support travel and tourism and who have entrusted us with these funds to make our community even more exciting and vibrant.”

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