Springfield officials release 11th round of ARPA funding awards
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The eleventh and final round of pandemic relief checks from the American Rescue Plan Act went out in Springfield on Wednesday to non-profits and small businesses in the city.
We’re told just over $1.3 million is being awarded to 23 small businesses and just under $900,000 will be awarded to 16 non-profits. Additionally, $350,000 is being awarded under the Build Back Springfield program to support the redevelopment efforts of a vacant and historically significant building on Maple Street.
Over the past two years, Springfield Mayor Sarno told Western Mass News that, through the ARPA funds, the city has been able to award about $102 million total. More than four million of that was through direct cash assistance to Springfield families, but now that money is starting to come to an end.
“Doesn’t leave me much for projects that I need to do in the city internally, which would benefit everyone in the city,” Sarno said.
He told us that the remainder of the money will go towards these necessary projects and Sarno added that, unfortunately, the city stopped taking applications for the ARPA allocations in December.
“We had to stop. It was just overwhelming…22,000 requests and applications,” Sarno noted.
However, Sarno told Western Mass News that he’s thankful the city was able to help so many local businesses, non-profits, and households to bounce back following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“…And boy, did you see the diversity of these with the crowd that was here. You can see in their eyes, you know, relief, ‘thank you,’ you know, helping us to stabilize now. I want all of these entities to thrive,” Sarno explained.
According to the mayor’s office, in total, through all eleven rounds of ARPA awards, around 88 percent of business applications awarded have been to either minority and/or woman-owned businesses and about 66 percent of total award funding have been to either minority and/or woman-owned businesses.
“Supporting the LGBTQ youth is very important for our organization. With mental health being such a strain on the community right now, we’re so happy that we can offer jobs to our mental health professionals to come into our program and really help the kids understand their emotions,” said Taurean Bethea, founder and CEO of the Springfield Pride Parade.
“Hearing the mayor speak, minority owned, businesswoman owned business, minority owned business, this is Springfield,” added Andrew Melendez, president of Latino Economic Development in Springfield.
Sarno said they are still reviewing applications for pandemic relief for Springfield households. He said the city is looking for third party assistance on the state level to get those final checks out to families.
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