ARPA Strategic Direction and Community Meetings
CLEARWATER, Fla. — The City of Clearwater will hold several upcoming meetings to discuss the city’s strategic direction plan and how the city proposes to spend the approximately $22.48 million received through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Meetings will take place at the following locations:
Monday, May 16, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Morningside Recreation Center
2400 Harn Blvd.
Tuesday, May 24, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
North Greenwood Recreation Center
900 N. MLK Jr. Ave.
Tuesday, May 31, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Clearwater Beach Recreation Center
69 Bay Esplanade
Wednesday, June 1, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
2642 Sabal Springs Dr.
Permitted uses of funds include:
To respond to the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including helping households, small businesses and non-profit organizations, or helping those affected
industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality
For a wage bonus to eligible workers doing essential work during the pandemic
For the provision of government services to the extent of reduced income due to the pandemic
Make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure
The City of Clearwater received a total of $22,483,893 through this program. ARPA allocation must be contractually committed or encumbered
projects and programs by the end of calendar year 2024. All monies must be spent by 2026 and all monies not spent by then must be returned to the
The following projects meet the criteria and are recommended by Clearwater staff:
Seed funding for the North Greenwood Community Redevelopment Agency
These funds will help the North Greenwood Community Redevelopment Agency begin its redevelopment efforts. Given that future funding for the Community Redevelopment Agency is based on increasing the assessed value of properties in the area, staff believe an initial investment in the neighborhood is appropriate to jump-start these efforts. A centerpiece of the area is the North Ward School which the city has acquired and is set to redevelop. Many other efforts are currently planned in this area which is generally defined as an area of approximately 1.31 square miles north and northeast of downtown.
Fiber upgrades and high-speed connectivity
These funds will be used to upgrade the city’s traffic management infrastructure, which will enable better traffic management using an intelligent traffic system that can be integrated with regional partners’ systems. This will allow for better traffic flow, which will have positive benefits in the areas of local job creation, travel time to/from work and sustainability. Additionally, infrastructure upgrades create a more secure network infrastructure for the city to protect city assets and improve services provided.
Housing projects will include down payment assistance, rehabilitation and construction of single and multi-family homes, as well as energy efficiency improvements such as the installation of cooling roofs and solar panels where possible. These funds will be used to help households whose income is between 80 and 120% of the regional median income. Although this income bracket is the main target, worthy projects that help households with an average income of less than 80% will also be considered.
Street and sidewalk improvements
These funds will be used to accelerate improvements to roads, curbs and sidewalks in low-income communities. About $1.8 million will be spent on road milling and resurfacing and about $320,000 will be spent on sidewalk and curb improvements. This $2 million will be added to the $5.2 to $5.7 million provided annually for the improvement of streets and sidewalks.
Solar panels for city installations
These funds would be used to kick off the city’s solar installation program on city buildings. These investments will help reduce energy costs
use, allowing operational funds to be reallocated or tax rates to be reduced.
Pinellas Community Foundation
The Pinellas Community Foundation will solicit, assess and award up to $1,000,000 to a non-profit organization that provides an innovative and impactful concept of affordable and accessible housing in the City of Clearwater. The recipient must be able to complete the project by September 30, 2026.
Funding for non-profit cultural affairs
These funds are offered as a grant-based program. Clearwater non-profit organizations that provide services to Clearwater will have the opportunity to
apply for funding for programs focused on cultural affairs. These could include regional markets, concerts or theatrical events, or other community social opportunities that are trying to become financially feasible or need financial assistance to return to pre-pandemic levels of efficiency. .
Education – Grants or partnerships
These funds will be used to provide a grant or partnership opportunity with a non-profit or government entity for programs focused on educational opportunities targeting students who have fallen behind academically due to the pandemic.
State Street Park Improvements
This project involves the development of State Street Park located at the southwest corner of State Street and North Betty Lane. This property was
purchased over 30 years ago for the purpose of developing a neighborhood park. The current owners’ association has been very active in promoting this
park and wants to make additional improvements to the park. The development of the park would preserve the tree canopy and allow the park to remain in its natural state as much as possible. Development could include better outdoor play areas and the addition of a playground, nature/walking paths, fencing, water fountain, parking lot, signs signage and other park amenities. Invasive plant species would also be removed from the park.
Clearwater Main Library Information Center
This project would transform the ground floor of the Main Library into a unique destination that supports and enhances citizen use of the new Coachman Park and downtown by relocating the library’s most used resources and services. To support this one-stop model, some of the referral and circulation staff would join together to create an “information center” on the first floor where patrons could obtain any technical or librarian support or information about activities at Coachman Park. .
Reimburse the City for COVID-related expenses
The city spent $1,379,498 of the General Fund operating budget for the Clearwater Back to Business grants and professional services program in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. city. These two categories of expenses total $3,120,700 and staff recommends reimbursement of $2,358,893.