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City seeks share of state ARPA funds

State’s $2.6B allocation is separate from city’s $40M pot

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Mayor Ken McClure is looking for $43.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the state.

On behalf of the city, the mayor submitted a request for a portion of the state’s $2.6 billion ARPA allocation from the federal government. The requested funds are separate from the ARPA funds granted by Congress to the city of Springfield or Greene County, both of which are still determining how to use the bulk of their allocations.

In its 2023 budget document, the state’s Office of Administration outlines that $250 million of federal relief matching funds are available to municipalities for community development and revitalization projects to spur economic growth.

According to the most recent U.S. Census numbers, Springfield’s population of 169,000 is under 3% of the state total, but its request is for 17.3% of the state’s community development and revitalization funds.

McClure said the eight projects in Springfield’s proposal all have good opportunities for return on investment.

“These are projects which will have a transformative economic revitalization impact,” he said.

In McClure’s letter accompanying the proposal, he outlines the strengths of the plan.

“This proposal provides an opportunity to stimulate our future economy and enjoys strong community support, a healthy local funding match and the capacity to get the proposed projects under contract and completed in a timely manner,” he writes.

The projects included in the proposal are improvements to athletic facilities, the Cooper Soccer Complex, the Cooper Baseball & Killian Softball Complex and the Fieldhouse Sportscenter; the daylighting of Jordan Creek; an upgrade to LeCompte Road on the city’s east side; expansion of the Springfield Art Museum’s education wing; development of a new greenway, the Chadwick Flyer Trail; and upgrades to the Springfield Expo Center.

In December, Department of Economic Development Acting Director Maggie Kost said matching funds would be a requirement for many state ARPA investments, though these can come from city or county ARPA dollars, local funds or grants.

Springfield City Councilperson Matthew Simpson, chair of council’s ARPA subcommittee, said the request for a share of Missouri’s ARPA funds is strongly focused on revitalization.

“The city’s been working with our local delegation based on the state’s established priorities for their funds,” he said.

State ARPA funds will first become available July 1. The funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

McClure clarified that requests made for the remainder of the $40 million in ARPA funds allocated by Congress specifically to the city of Springfield are still being considered.

“These are two separate processes,” McClure said. “The city’s going through its own review, making decisions on using the remaining sums the city has.”

Retention pay for first responders, totaling $6.5 million, and an $8 million allocation for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department have already been allocated from city ARPA funds.

The city will be guided in the use of its remaining $25.5 million in ARPA funds by a 2021 survey of residents. The top three priorities identified were public safety and crime prevention, homeless and housing services, and community health and wellness.

In addition to the city’s allocation, Greene County was awarded $56.9 million in ARPA funds, and requests are now being accepted for the county’s first grant cycle through its website. Greene County also conducted a survey, and residents’ top three priorities were mental health services, affordable housing and service to unhoused persons.

Springfield is seeking state ARPA funds for eight separate projects that are already underway, McClure said.

“Not only are general revenues increasing significantly at the state level, but ARPA money is available,” he said. “This is unprecedented, and I know we all want to make the best use of it.”

Simpson added an important priority for the state is that projects have transformative impact in terms of quality of place for residents, and the eight projects chosen meet that criterion.

He added that the opportunities are for one-time expenditures with long-term transformational impact.

“By working together on this, the state can maximize their impact, and we can maximize the impact of local dollars,” he said.

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