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$4.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds awarded to City of Guadalupe

Posted at 6:50 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 22:21:28-04

This week, the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded $4.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds to the City of Guadalupe.

The grant will go toward improving local tourism, while also helping return the historic Royal Theater back to its former glory.

Locals have fond memories of the theater that remains closed in the heart of downtown Guadalupe.

"The hangout was right here at this theater," said lifetime Guadalupe resident George Alvarez. "For less than a buck, you would get in there, buy a popcorn, a hot dog and a drink. For a buck, and you would get in."

"When I was very young, I do remember watching the Super Bowl there," recalled Sebastian Chavez, a prep cook at J's Kitchen.

According to the EDA, the incoming grant money will help to refurbish the theater and repurpose it as a centrally-located visitor attraction.

Some nearby businesses say they are optimistic about the plans.

"The people are going to come to the other side, come here and find Guadalupe," Aaron Garcia, a worker at Star Market, told KSBY. "They are going to have events, something different, something new. Many customers are going to bring their children, they are going to bring the whole family, so it helps."

Other business owners have reservations about the changes. The owners of King Falaffel said a boost in tourism may result in small, local businesses being pushed out of the downtown area to make way for larger establishments.

Meantime, longtime Guadalupe community members say they are just relieved to see improvements in the works for their city.

"Most people here just want to leave, but I want to play my part in seeing what is good for Guadalupe to offer, why we should stay," Chavez added.

"We need a jumpstart in the face of this town, and this would be a beacon for that," Alvarez said with excitement.

The EDA says the incoming grant will be matched with $300,000 in local funds in hopes of creating over 500 new jobs and generating $11.4 million in private investment.

It is unknown when the renovation projects will begin.

KSBY News reached out to Guadalupe city officials as well as a member of the Economic Development Administration but they were unavailable for comment.