FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The debate on how to spend millions of the remaining American Rescue Plan funds in Fayetteville is growing.
The city of Fayetteville has about $5.1 million in ARPA funds remaining. On Tuesday, City Council voted to spend about $200,000 for Magdalene Serenity House and WelcomeHealth. However, two other resolutions for the ARPA funds were tabled. One resolution included $3 million for arts and culture organizations and the other included $1 million for replacing lost revenue for nonprofit organizations throughout the pandemic.
Executive Director of TheatreSquared Martin Miller said he’s applied for $1.2 million of the funds but hasn’t received any money yet. Miller said he was hopeful that the $3 million plan would benefit TheatreSquared and arts organizations.
“There were a lot of nonprofits who felt the impacts of COVID and what arts organizations are looking for is just the acknowledgment along with those other organizations as playing a vital role in Fayetteville,” Miller said.
On Tuesday, other nonprofits like Jaden Atkins with Legal Aid of Arkansas said she wanted those two resolutions to be tabled to make sure other requests were also considered.
“It looks like almost all of the remaining ARPA funds were going to get spent last night, otherwise, and then that would have meant that we would have definitely not been funded,” Atkins said.
Atkins said Legal Aid asked for about $92,000 of the city’s ARPA funds to help with outreach and adding an additional attorney to help with Arkansans whose Medicaid is ending this year.
“They might be getting in-home care services, or in a nursing home on these Medicaid funds, so if they’re cut even temporarily, it could be potentially life-altering,” Atkins said.
Atkins and Miller said they’re hopeful that further clarification of the ARPA funds will help ensure organizations will get financial help. The city council could hold a workshop to discuss uses of the remaining funds or discuss different requests and its next meeting.