US Economic Dev’t Admin. grants $16M to EcoExploratorio project
The US Economic Development Administration 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.
The EDA grant will be matched with $4 million in local investment, said US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.
The EcoExploratorio, which will be a center for informal education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), sustainability and mitigation of natural disasters, will be located at the Convention District in San Juan, as News is my Business reported.
With an investment of $50 million, the planned 65,000 square-foot EcoExploratorio will be located on two acres of land in Miramar.
The entity was founded by Meteorologist Ada Monzón, who said on social media that more details will be “coming soon.”
The future facility will house permanent and temporary exhibitions, spaces for educational events, areas with living species such as aquarium, a butterfly garden, an observation center, museum shop and food and beverage facilities, among others, she said.
The 30-year lease agreement with the government was signed April 10, 2019.
“The Biden Administration is committed to helping Puerto Rico develop disaster-resilient infrastructure ahead of future storms,” said 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,” she said.
This 60,000-square foot, multi-purpose structure within the EcoExploratorio 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 more than five years the EcoExploratorio in Puerto Rico has been crucial in supporting STEM education initiatives on the island,” said Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González.
“This allocation will empower the EcoExploratorio 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,” she said.
“I will continue supporting the EcoExploratorio from Congress as best I can, as well as STEM education for current and future generations,” González said.