Monroe Biomedical Research and Innovation Park Receives $1.8 Million Federal Investment

MONROE, La. (KNOE) — Money is starting to roll in for a new biomedical research and innovation park in Monroe.

The project is receiving an investment of $1.8 million through the American Rescue Plan and another $1.8 million in matching funds from Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and the state of Louisiana.

“We received the funds, and now the next step is probably construction,” Virendra Chhikara, executive director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, told KNOE. “We will go after. We have taken action, but it is too early to say a date at this time, 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 kids can be exposed to so they can understand that 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 develop their talents here in Monroe.”

The completed project is expected to cost $30 million.

“We have asked for a down payment, which will be $20 million,” Chhikara said. “We are very grateful to the local and federal delegations for helping us throughout the process.”

Mayor Ellis says the park will play a vital role in the city’s future.

“Diversifying our workforce in ways like this, which revolves around research, which revolves 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 create more than 175 jobs in the region and have an impact of $30 million over five years.

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