MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Money is beginning to roll in for a new Biomedical Research and Innovation Park in Monroe.
The project receives a $1.8 million investment courtesy of the American Rescue Plan and another $1.8 million in matching funds from Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Ouachita Parish Police Jury and the State of Louisiana.
“We have received the funds, and now probably the next stage is building,” Virendra Chhikara, Executive Director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, told KNOE. “We will go after that. We have taken steps, but it is too early to say a date right now, but it will be very shortly.”
The 60,000-square-foot facility near the ULM College of Pharmacy will be an incubator for medical research and design.
“These are career paths that children can be exposed to so they can understand they don’t have to go somewhere like Dallas or Michigan or wherever they go to do this type of research,” explained Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis. “We do it here, and they can grow their talents here in Monroe.”
The completed project is expected to cost $30 million.
“We have applied for some capital outlay, and that will be up to $20 million,” Chhikara said. “We are very thankful for the local and federal delegations for helping us through the process.”
Mayor Ellis says the park will play a vital role in the city’s future.
“Diversifying our workforce in ways like this, that’s built around research, that’s built around our health sciences at our universities,” Ellis explained. “It just makes it more attractive and provides more opportunities to retain our talent.”
Chhikara says the project is expected to bring upwards of 175 jobs to the region and have a $30 million impact over five years.
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