Lummi Nation receives major grant to boost tourism


Lummi Nation is receiving a major grant to help its tourism industry, which was damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it awarded Lummi Nation a $4.6 million grant to develop infrastructure needed to support tourism-related businesses. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

According to a news release from the federal agency, the money will go toward the construction of a new retail marketplace for use by indigenous artists and craftspeople to attract more tourism to the region. The grant is expected to create 71 jobs and retain 139 jobs.

The Bellingham Herald has reached out to the Lummi Nation to find out what specific plans it has with the marketplace. In recent years the Lummi Nation has considered its Salish Village development as a potential spot for new retail. The 160 acres near Interstate 5 and Slater Road is currently home to a fueling station, store and some restaurant services, including being a regular stopping spot for food trucks.

The news release noted that tribal communities were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“This (Economic Development Agency) investment in the Lummi Nation will support its efforts to develop a central retail location for Tribal vendors, improving the marketability of traditional arts and crafts to local visitors,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in 2021 to all 50 states and territories. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through the end of September.

Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.


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