Bowling Green City Council invites the public to a forum on Thursday, May 12, at 6:00 PM, to share ideas for the nearly three million dollars remaining in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The public forum will occur in Council Chamber, located on the 3rd floor of the City Building, 304 N. Church St.
The forum is another opportunity for individuals and organizations to share their ARPA funding ideas with City Council; no decisions to direct ARPA funds will be made at the May 12 forum.
Written ideas or proposals for ARPA funding may also be sent to email@example.com. Council asks that submissions be made by May 31, 2022.
Those presenting at the May 12 forum are asked to select a spokesperson if part of a larger group, and to please keep presentations to seven minutes or less.
Proposals, whether in person or submitted via email, should include the following information, if available:
- A detailed description of the proposal;
- An explanation of how it will benefit the citizens of Bowling Green;
- What investment will be required in time and/or money;
- Whether the proposal will require any ongoing cost or maintenance beyond the initial investment.
In 2021, the federal government passed ARPA to help communities recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $7.3 million was allocated to the City of Bowling Green. The funds must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.
Under U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance, ARPA funding may replace city revenue lost during the pandemic. As such, there is greater flexibility in the projects that may be funded.
Mayor Aspacher and City Council have previously outlined the following guiding principles to prioritize projects for ARPA funding. The proposed project should:
- Involve a one-time use of funds;
- Be allowable as determined by U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance;
- Avoid duplicated use of funds already in place for other programs and projects; and
- Have a community-wide impact.
So far, City Council has approved the following investments of ARPA funding:
- Residential Paving ($3,000,000);
- MARCS Communication Equipment (radios) to improve public safety communications ($350,000);
- City Park Paving Project, which will include road widening, a walking path, and security improvements (cameras & lighting) ($250,000);
- Inclusive Playground Support for the Wood County Plays Project at Carter Park ($100,000);
- Housing Grants ($300,000 over three years).
A questionnaire to gather ARPA funding ideas was made available on the city's website earlier this year. More than 950 questionnaires were submitted by the public in February and March of 2022.