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PARIS, TENN., AND MANTEO, N.C. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will soon break ground on two new park visitor centers in the Southeast. The $6.1 million center for the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge in Paris, Tennessee, and the $6.65 million property in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Manteo will provide a permanent home for park staff.

The buildings are two of the 183 projects slated for the Southeast meant to improve the functionality of fish and wildlife spaces. Funding for the projects, which totals $56.5 million, will be secured through President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In all, $115 million has been awarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for property construction and energy retrofits throughout the country. The proposed updates include reconstruction and repair of buildings, energy efficiency retrofits and deferred maintenance. The projects will affect properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“These projects will strengthen our conservation work, enhance the experience of visitors at our national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, improve energy efficiency and save money in the future by eliminating thousands of dollars in rental payments for office space,” Sam Hamilton, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast region, says in a statement.

— Jon Ross

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