City and county officials from across the Missouri 18th Senate District gathered in Edina on Friday, April 2, 2021 to learn more about the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and to share ideas and plans about how the funds can be used to improve the northeast Missouri communities.
The event was organized by Senator Cindy O’Laughlin, the City of Kirksville, Northeast Regional Planning Commission, Mark Twain Council of Governments and Green Hills Regional Planning Commission.
“This American Rescue Plan is not something I would have done, but it is going to happen,” said Senator O’Laughlin. “My concern is what is going to happen when all of these bills come due. Government doesn’t have the opportunity to earn money, it only has the opportunity to take money through taxation. But we know this is coming, so we wanted to be sure to get together and maybe find ways we can use it to advance our area.”
An overview of the American Rescue Plan Act was shared with well over 80 local government, economic development, public utility and business representatives. Funding allocations for cities and counties in the region were discussed along with potential eligible expenditures and the timeframe for the program.
Officials shared ideas for how to use the federally funded program to provide long-term impacts in all of the communities while also discussing the opportunity for shared projects to potentially pool the funding for the greatest impact.
Carolyn Chrisman of Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc. (KREDI) highlighted a number of areas of emphasis such as broadband, housing and childcare, where she noted improvements are needed to not only attract economic growth to the area but to insure existing business does not leave.
City and county officials from across the 18th district shared initial ideas for uses for the ARP funds such as improvements to county and city buildings; infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, electric systems, water and sewer; investments in broadband, housing and childcare; new E-911 systems; downtown revitalizations; workforce development; sidewalk upgrades, expansion of tourism draws; and mental health services.