EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - In an effort to revitalize Wisconsin's economy, on Thursday, Governor Tony Evers announced more than $140 million in grants will be available for business promoting entertainment and tourism.
The state Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan paid a visit to Micon Downtown Budget Cinema to discuss the Evers administration's investment in these industries.
Brennan said the grants are being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
He said these federal dollars will help industries that were the first to close and will probably be the last to reopen.
"What we're going to continue to do is monitor the recovery, monitor how we're doing in vaccination," Brennan said. "There are so many of these that are just the backbones of communities around the state and we need to support their recovery. We need to make sure they are moving forward so that they can be productive for generations to come."
Micon Cinemas operations manager Dan Olson said between their three locations in the Chippewa Valley, business was down 80% in 2020 compared to 2019, and things are still not back to normal for them.
They've applied for funding through the Save Our Stages Act, and they plan to apply for the newly announced grant money as well.
"For this (downtown) location specifically, it's not about keeping the lights on. For here, it's literally about turning the lights back on," Olson said. "We've been closed at this location since even before the pandemic started so it's a huge influx for us. Obviously we want to continue to entertain people, and for that obviously we need the content, but also people need to feel comfortable, and we know that will take a long time."
Brennan said business owners should be able to apply for grant funding within the next few weeks on the DOA's website. State officials plan to distribute the money by the end of the summer.
Evers' office says individuals and businesses interested in receiving more information about the grants, including applications, should sign up to receive alerts here.