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City’s ARPA committee recommends $31M in disbursements

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The Queen City’s American Rescue Plan Act Review Committee will offer its recommendations for funding to Springfield City Council at its next meeting on July 11.

The city received over 50 requests for funding, totaling over $210 million, according to a news release.

The committee recommends funding the following projects with a total of $31.4 million: 

  • Cooper/Killian Park projects, $7.3 million;
  • Future Housing/homeless projects, $7 million;
  • Historic Hall renovation, $4 million;
  • Ozark Greenways Chadwick Flyer Trail, $3 million;
  • Springfield Art Museum education wing, $3 million;
  • Boys & Girls Club/FosterAdopt Connect teen center , $2 million;
  • Restore SGF, $1 million;
  • Missouri State University Grand Street underpass, $750,000;
  • Ozarks Technical Community College airframe and powerplant maintenance facility, $750,000;
  • Family Connects Program, $650,000
  • Citywide housing study, $500,000;
  • Renew Jordan Creek stormwater project, $500,000;
  • Renovations to three Springfield-Greene County Library District branches, $500,000;
  • Ozark Empire Fairgrounds education center, $250,000;
  • Burrell Behavioral Health 24/7 mental health hotline, $100,000; and
  • The Discovery Center of Springfield Inc., $50,000.

The release notes six of these projects include state matching funds, and the funding for housing/homeless projects will be $12.3 million when combined with community development block grant ARPA funds.

ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal aid package passed in March 2021 by Congress to aid in pandemic recovery for individuals, governments, businesses, nonprofits and other entities. Included in the package is $350 billion that has been set aside for state and local governments. The city received over $40 million, which must be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

In August 2021, council allocated $8 million to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for critical COVID-19 services, but the committee is now recommending to amend that allocation to $3 million, the release states.

In January, council OK’d the use of ARPA dollars for retention pay for full-time fire, police and Health Department staff.

The ARPA Review Committee is made up of four council members. It was chaired by Matthew Simpson and other members are Andrew Lear, Abe McGull and Heather Hardinger.

The committee was informed in its recommendations by a September 2021 community survey to determine funding priorities. A total of 1,438 residents of the city completed the survey and ranked public safety and crime prevention as their top concern. Homeless and housing services came in second, followed by community health and wellness and premium pay for essential workers.

Other community priorities, in descending order, were stabilizing and revitalizing neighborhoods, quality of life, economic recovery and growth, and public facility preservation and enhancement.

The July 11 meeting will be the first reading of two separate ordinances to allocate funds, and the second reading and council vote is scheduled for July 25.

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