Fairborn narrowing scope for spending $6.8M in ARPA funds

Fairborn officials said American Rescue Plan Act fund recipients will include non-profit groups, small businesses, and stormwater and economic development projects. FILE

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Fairborn officials said American Rescue Plan Act fund recipients will include non-profit groups, small businesses, and stormwater and economic development projects. FILE

Nonprofits, small businesses, stormwater projects on the list; those seeking aid will apply to city

FAIRBORN — The city is narrowing its focus on how $6.8 million in federal COVID relief funds will be spent.

Fairborn officials said American Rescue Plan Act fund recipients will include nonprofit groups, small businesses, and stormwater and economic development projects.

“We feel like we’ve listened to the public and we’re putting together some projects (and) suggestions,” Mayor Paul Keller said.

City council is expected to approve a resolution June 6 outlining ARPA projects, and then to appropriate funds two weeks later, Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said in an email.

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The city would like to start using the funds by July and those seeking aid will have to formally apply, officials said.

“We are in the process of developing application eligibility requirements for funds and should have those available before the money is allocated,” Anderson said.

Talks have included up to $1 million for stormwater projects, and around $500,000 each for non-profits and small businesses, Keller said.

“We have some flood zones in Fairborn and we’re looking at some stormwater projects,” he said,

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Keller added that funding priorities will be guided by the city’s stormwater master plan “and it will just be a matter of trying to look which ones have the most immediate effect.”

The downtown area is expected to be a focal point for ARPA funding, he added.

“The downtown area is huge” as a consideration, Keller said. “And there’ll probably be some additional funding for economic development for our downtown in addition to the small business set-aside.”

Earlier this year the city held a series of town halls and posted on online survey about ways to use the money.

More than 55% of the nearly 750 survey respondents by early March expressed support for spending Fairborn ARPA money on infrastructure and community support services, results showed.

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The ARPA funds must be spent on addressing issues impacted by COVID-19, guidelines state. They can be used in a variety of ways, including grants to local businesses or workers in essential jobs.

Fairborn’s portion is part of a $130 billion relief plan for local governments signed last year by President Joe Biden.

The deadline to spend it is Dec. 31, 2024, officials said. It can also be encumbered by that date if it is spent by the end of 2026, they added.

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