Richmond’s Maymont wins $8M tourism grant
Federal funding goes to travel, outdoor recreation
Updated July 20, 2022
Maymont Foundation, which maintains and runs Richmond’s Maymont park, was awarded an $8 million federal grant Tuesday to promote regional tourism, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced.
With an additional $2 million in matching funds from the foundation, the EDA grant will be used for infrastructure improvements to expand visitors’ access to certain areas, including rescued wildlife habitats, and restore the roof and upgrade airflow and safety systems at the historic Maymont Mansion, according to the foundation. The federal funding comes from the American Rescue Plan’s $240 million competitive travel, tourism and outdoor recreation program, and Maymont was among many organizations competing for funds. The federal EDA plans to award $3 billion total for all of its American Rescue Plan grants on a rolling basis through Sept. 30.
“For years, Maymont has been a premier tourist destination in Richmond,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement. “This grant will be used to expand the amazing opportunities tourists have when they visit Virginia’s historic capital, making the commonwealth a more sought-after destination in the U.S.”
In 2020, Maymont received a grant from the state to create immersive audio tours and open a new welcome center and classroom, work that is being completed by this fall.
“Maymont is grateful for the strong support that our application received from so many local, state and regional officials,” said Parke Richeson, the foundation’s executive director. “It’s a testament to the enduring love for Maymont held by our local community and the many hundreds of thousands of tourists to Maymont each year. Particularly during the pandemic, many people turned to Maymont as an outdoor refuge to connect with nature and animals of the Virginia ecosystem and to learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked at this historic estate over a century ago.”
Maymont is a 100-acre estate situated on the James River that was once the Victorian- and Edwardian-era residence of James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925, and is now home to wild animals, an arboretum, formal gardens, the Robins Nature Center and the Maymont Mansion, formerly the Dooleys’ home. The nonprofit Maymont Foundation has operated and maintained the park since 1975, and more than 800,000 guests visit annually.
“Virginia’s culture, history and natural treasures support our tourism industry, creating jobs and strengthening local economies throughout the commonwealth,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. “This $8 million Economic Development Administration investment will support the Maymont Foundation’s efforts to ensure that more people have the opportunity to see what Virginia has to offer.”