Wilds Granted to $2m to Build Recreational Vehicle Campground

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MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio- The U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to The Wilds, Cumberland, Ohio, to build a 60-acre recreational vehicle campground at the wildlife conservation center in Muskingum County, Ohio. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant will help attract tourists to 10,000-acre park, which is located on reclaimed coal mine land along the Appalachian Byway. The EDA investment will be matched with $700,000 in local funds and is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 25 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivers federal resources to communities to ensure our nation not only recovers from the pandemic, but builds a better America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in The Wilds will boost tourism and outdoor recreation at the animal safari park, as well as other local tourist destinations in eastern Ohio, and help bring back jobs to the region.”

“The travel and tourism industry is a critical economic driver for many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment in Muskingum County at one of the largest wildlife conservation centers in North America is an excellent opportunity to leverage a regional asset and build greater economic resiliency in the region’s growing tourism industry.”

“Ohioans depend on access to parks for outdoor recreation, community events, and local jobs,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “This funding from the American Rescue Plan will support the local economy and protect our natural resources for future generations.”

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in grants to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The two programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

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Nichole Hannahs
Nichole is WHIZ’s News Director/Anchor. She joined the WHIZ family while attending high school at Bishop Rosecrans, before taking a full-time position in 2005. Nichole is no stranger to the area. She grew up in Corning, Ohio and and graduated from Waynesburg College, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications emphasizing in Sports Broadcasting/Sports Information and Journalism.When not at work Nichole enjoys watching St. Louis Blues hockey, enjoying time with family, spending time outdoors and reading.If Nichole wasn't in broadcasting she'd probably have become a teacher.Nichole is married to a fellow sports fan Brandon. They have two sons Cameron and Xavier.