The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021. These funds are intended to help states and localities fight the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain vital public services, and build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery from the pandemic. After listening to the community through an extensive 6-month public engagement process, the Harrisonburg City Council adopted on October 11, 2022, five investment priority areas for the City of Harrisonburg's ARPA funding.
In December 2022, City Council finalized the spending plan, with funding being allocated to the following six categories:
- Enhance Community Space - The pandemic highlighted just how vital community spaces are for connections and wellbeing. We seek to enhance more equitable distribution of accessible parks and recreation services and amenities across the city.
- Other Government Services - A key goal of the ARPA program was to support organizations such as local governments that saw revenue decreases due to the pandemic impact their budget and delivery of service.
- Expand Accessible, Affordable Housing - Many struggled with housing insecurity during the pandemic. We seek to expand accessible, affordable housing.
- Improve Neighborhoods - The pandemic highlighted how important neighborhoods are to daily well-being, and a sense of belonging. We seek to improve the beautification of neighborhoods in ways that promote safety and connection and yield additional environmental benefits.
- Increase Affordable and Accessible Childcare - The pandemic made evident how crucial having affordable and accessible childcare is to the functioning of our community and the social well-being of our children. We seek to increase support for workers and working families related to childcare.
- Invest in Community Mental Health Improvements - The pandemic presented additional mental health challenges to our community and made evident a crucial growing need for support. We seek to invest in community mental health improvements, especially for youth and the homeless.
Specific projects and initiatives that will be funded through ARPA include the following. Please click the link where available for the latest update on each project:
Enhance Community Spaces
- Kids Castle Replacement: $2.65 million
- Ralph Sampson Park Splashpad: $2.2 million
- Adult Soccer Field: $1 million
- Smithland Athletic Complex Lights: $875,000
- Westover Skate Park Replacement: $475,000
- Smithland Athletic Complex Restrooms (West Side): $435,000
Other Government Services
- HFD Fire Station 5: $5 million
- Employee Retention Incentives: $2,032,000
- Small Business Assistance Program: $200,000
- ARPA Administration: $125,000
Expand Accessible, Affordable Housing
- Kelley Street Paving: $90,000
ARPA has funded project-related utility work and replacement of pavement surface on Kelly Street from Broad Street to Tower Street. Paving is expected to be complete following the replacement of waterlines that were funded through the most recent round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.
- Sterling Street Sidewalk: $566,000
Sidewalk will be constructed on the west side of Sterling Street between Elizabeth Street and the existing sidewalk north of Gay Street. This will fill a gap between the existing sidewalks on Sterling Street to provide a safer route for people walking in the neighborhood, including to Ralph Sampson Park, Lucy Simms Center and Spotswood Elementary School. Estimated to take place in 2024 or 2025.
- Myrtle Street Paving: $85,000
ARPA has funded project-related utility work and replacement of pavement surface on Myrtle Street from Kelley Street to Washington Street. THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETE.
- Sterling Street Paving: $80,000
ARPA has funded project-related utility work and replacement of pavement surface on Sterling Street from East Market Street to Kelley Street. Estimated to take place in summer 2024.
- Simms Avenue Paving: $25,000
ARPA has funded project-related utility work and replacement of pavement surface on Simms Avenue from Kelley Street to Washington Street. THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETE.
Increase Affordable, Accessible Childcare
- Childcare Fund: $446,000
- Licensing Navigator Services: $96,000
- Business Support Services: $50,000
Invest in Community Mental Health
- Mental Health Fund: $400,000
ARPA Spending Plan Summary Sheet [167KB]
The goals of the Harrisonburg ARPA program are to:
- Support families and businesses struggling with the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Maintain vital public services, even amid declines in revenue resulting from the crisis
- Build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery by making investments that support long-term growth and opportunity
These funds represent a once-in-a-generation investment in our community. In order to ensure the funds were invested wisely, the City conducted a multi-month community engagement campaign that included two online surveys in multiple languages, three large public sessions held at gathering places throughout the city, and small group opportunities in which organizations with particular areas of speciality could provide their input. In all, more than 3,000 individuals took part in the community engagement process, and we appreciate the community members who have provided their input to help us understand the impacts, needs, and ideas for restoring and transforming our community. Learn more about community input here:
ARPA Comprehensive Data Report [3.9MB]
ARPA Executive Summary - English [1.8MB]
ARPA Executive Summary - Español [1.8MB]
What are the parameters that control spending these funds?
The U.S. Department of Treasury regulates and enforces the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF). Treasury’s Final Rule describes eligible and ineligible uses of funds as well as other program provisions. The Final Rule went into effect on April 1, 2022. Local governments additionally must comply with Treasury’s Compliance and Reporting Guidance and meet compliance and reporting responsibilities defined in the Final Rule, which includes submitting mandatory periodic reports to Treasury.
An overview of the Final Rule is provided in this brief (ARPA-SLFRF Final Rule Brief [424KB] ) developed by the City of Harrisonburg City Manager’s Office and Finance Department.
The full text of the Final Rule is available on the U.S. Treasury’s ARPA Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/state-and-local-fiscal-recovery-funds
The Final Rule presumes certain services are eligible for the City of Harrisonburg to fund through ARPA if these are provided in a geographic area federally-designated as a Qualified Census Tract or in Census Tracts with median income below $40,626. These maps show the Census Tracts in the City of Harrisonburg that meet these eligibility standards per the Final Rule: