Thanks to a windfall of aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Grain Valley finds itself in the unprecedented position of finding ways to spend nearly $3 million in funds on projects. $350 billion of the $1.9 trillion aid package passed in March 2021 was allotted to state and local governments. The Board of Aldermen met for a workshop on Monday, February 7th to consider plans to spend the funds the City has received.
Grain Valley has been allotted $2,931,137 in funding through the program. An initial payment of $1,465,568.61 was received in September 2021, with a second payment due in September 2022. Funds must be obligated for projects by December 31, 2024, and spent by December 31, 2026.
Funds must be used for projects fitting within four categories, including: responding to the public health emergency and/or its negative economic impacts; responding to essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency; providing government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue occurring as a result of COVID-19; and making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. Funds may not be used to offset reductions in taxes, funding debt service, legal settlements, or deposits to pension funds or rainy-day funds or reserves.
City staff outlined a plan to use ARPA funds to support several projects, with primary project recommendations coming from the City's 2022-26 Capital Improvement Plan, which was approved by the Board of Aldermen in March 2021. Projects include two sewer main replacements between Main Street and James Rollo Court at an estimated cost of $950,000, design work for a new water tower at Tyer Road at an estimated cost of $400,000, replacement of police radios at an estimated cost of $177,000, a parks master plan ($75,000) and comprehensive master plan ($125,000). Upgrades for the police department, including license plate readers, video arraignment, and police body cameras were also included.
City staff also presented information on Missouri Main Street Connection, an organization that works with historic downtown business districts to revitalize and reimagine those spaces. Staff recommended $50,000 in ARPA funds be dedicated to partnering with the Missouri Main Street Connection to work with downtown Grain Valley businesses through a matching grant program.
All told, the list of projects totaled $1,874,000, leaving $1,057,137 to be earmarked toward additional projects. The Board and Mayor appeared in favor of the plan, which will be presented at a future board meeting for consideration.
In other news, the City has put out a request for proposals to purchase the former Nichols Machine buildings (513 Gregg Street and 517 Gregg Street). The City purchased the buildings in 2018 and were considering the space for use as a community center space for older adults and youth services among other ideas. In its RFP, the City states leadership has decided the property would be best suited for use by a private party. First Baptist Church Grain Valley has indicated interest in purchasing the property in a previous Board of Aldermen meeting.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held at 7:00pm on Monday, February 14th at City Hall.