Connecticut to help tourism sites; provides loan to aquarium

Connecticut

A Beluga whale plays with tourist as they visit Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, on June 18, 2017. The aquarium serves as the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibit in the United States. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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PRESTON, Conn. (AP) — The state of Connecticut is providing a $7 million loan to the Mystic Aquarium, a key tourist attraction hit hard financially after being forced to close for almost four months because of the pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday the multi-pronged arrangement with the nonprofit is part an ongoing effort to help the state’s tourism industry.

Under the deal, the aquarium raised more than $10 million from private donors and renegotiated loans, eliminating $14.5 million in long-term debt.

The state loan will ultimately be replaced with private capital. Before the pandemic, the aquarium had an annual attendance of 800,000 people.

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