City to fund critical projects with American Rescue Plan Act dollars

Immediate funding focuses on an equitable community recovery from the pandemic

Over the next year, the City of Boulder will receive $20.15 million in local recovery funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The city has until the end of 2024 to formally commit funds and until 2026 to spend them. ARPA is designed to help communities and local governments recover from the pandemic, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted.

In addition to federal guidelines for how ARPA dollars can be spent, the city has developed its own guiding principles for the funding, which incorporate the city’s equity, sustainability and resilience goals. The city will spend a portion of the funding this year to meet critical, immediate needs while developing a long-term plan for the remainder that supports community recovery, captures community input and maximizes impact by working with local partners.

About $3 million of the funding has been approved for immediate needs and will go toward programs to support those most impacted by the pandemic, including:

  • Emergency rental assistance and critical human service needs
  • Small business and local economic recovery assistance, including direct support to the hardest hit industries
  • Utility bill assistance
  • Addressing disparities in digital access by helping community members living in Boulder Housing Partner sites to obtain free high-speed internet access
  • Some city service restoration and updating virtual capability in city facilities

An additional $1 million is reserved for emerging public health needs that may arise in the coming months.

The remainder of the funding, about $16 million, will go toward transformative initiatives with longer-term impacts to meet our most pressing community challenges. A cross-departmental team is currently researching potential projects for the funding and planning for direct outreach to key partners, close collaboration with Boulder County and the state and community engagement opportunities to gather feedback that will guide its efforts.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to align resources with community goals and expectations and to have a lasting impact on our community,” said Deputy City Manager Chris Meschuk. “Areas of focus for the remaining funding will include public health and safety, service access and affordability, addressing disparities and community and economic resilience.”

To learn more about ARPA, visit the city’s website.