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ASU's Arkansas Heritage SITES program receives three National Scenic Byways grants totaling $560,600

Sept. 8, 2009 -- The Federal Highway Administration has announced three National Scenic Byways grants totaling $560,600 for the Arkansas Heritage SITES program at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

The largest grant, for $510,600, will be utilized to develop and implement a coordinated interpretive and marketing plan for heritage tourism in the Arkansas Delta Byways region, which includes two National Scenic Byways, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Arkansas Great River Road.  Counties that are part of Arkansas Delta Byways include Arkansas, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, and St. Francis.

The funds also will provide for continuation of regional field services and technical assistance initiated through the Rural Heritage Development Initiative, a three-year pilot program utilizing heritage tourism and preservation-based economic development strategies. This program, which ended earlier this year, was funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and administered through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The two additional grants, for $25,000 each, will fund administrative support for the Arkansas Heritage SITES office at Arkansas State University to continue development of the two National Scenic Byways in the region.

“This funding will support economic development by increasing tourism,” said First District Congressman Marion Berry. “In addition, the program will preserve our scenic landscapes while enhancing roads that represent our state’s rich heritage for future generations.”  Berry is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

The three grants are among 221 projects in 43 states selected for a total of $38.6 million in funding through the National Scenic Byway Program. Arkansas Heritage SITES (System Initiatives for Technical and Educational support) is directed by Dr. Ruth Hawkins.

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