$13 Million in Stimulus Funds Earmarked for Winter Park
by Anne Mooney / May 11, 2021
Winter Park stands to receive almost $13 million in federal stimulus funds earmarked through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), providing us a rare opportunity to rebuild from the pandemic and to shape future programs.
Tomorrow’s Commission discussion is one you may want to tune into, as it could directly affect many people and organizations in Winter Park.
Commission will decide where to spend the money
At its Wednesday, May 12, meeting, the Commission will undertake to prioritize the allocation of ARP dollars, which they anticipate will arrive in two payments. The first payment of $7,426,723 should arrive this month, May 2021; the second payment in the same amount should come in May 2022. The ARP requires all funds to be expended by the end of 2024.
Some dollars are restricted
Although guidance from the Feds is oblique (surprise!), City staff estimates about $3 million may be spent on any purpose the City decides, as these funds are intended to replace losses incurred as a result of the pandemic. A suggestion in a federal document reads, in part: “(1)(A) “. . . assistance to households, small businesses, and non-profits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.”
The remaining $10 million will be subject to restrictions imposed by the legislation. Clearly allowed are transfers of funds to non-profits, economic development studies, water and sewer enhancements and internet improvements.
Other infrastructure dollars under discussion at the federal level
Less clear is whether the City can use these funds for transportation improvements. City staff is monitoring discussions at the federal level of a separate $2 trillion infrastructure bill, as that money could fund transportation improvements that are not eligible under the ARP.
Thoughts from the April 28 workshop
On April 28, the Commission held a workshop to discuss setting priorities for ARP funds. Funding that can only be spent on eligible categories fell into four broad categories: 1) recurring non-profit partners, excluding Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, 2) households and small businesses, 3) tourism, travel and hospitality, and 4) broadband.
Interesting among the categories was the discussion around “recurring non-profit partners.” First was the exclusion of the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, which will still get its promised $100,000, but no extra money from the ARP pot of dollars.
Local organizations will receive extra ARP dollars
Commissioners discussed using the ARP funds to add 50 percent to current City funding levels for each of the following non-profits. For further detail and exact dollar amounts, click here: Local Organizations
Winter Park Public Library
Winter Park Day Nursery
Welbourne Day Nursery
Winter Park Playhouse
Depugh Nursing Home
Heritage Center (Crealde)
WPPL – just another non-profit?
The Winter Park Public Library, currently the recipient of the largest tranche of City dollars, could garner an additional $828,000 through the ARP – if it is treated the same as the other non-profits that receive City support. The question of whether or not to make the library a separate line item or to include it with the rest of the non-profits has yet to be answered.
“Apples and peaches,” says Weaver
“I would prefer the Commission discuss library funding from the ARP as a line item separate from the other non-profits,” said Commissioner Todd Weaver. “I don’t think we can compare the effect the pandemic had on the library with the effect it had on the other non-profits, which are dependent on sales or attendance at events. They are apples and peaches.”
Sullivan is of like mind.
“I am in favor of continuing the funding, which is approximately two-thirds of their budget,” said Commissioner Marty Sullivan. “However, it seems apparent that financial impact of COVID on the library would be less than on the other non-profits, because they already rely primarily on the City for their funding, whereas the others do not.”
Commissioner Carolyn Cooper said she thought it might be a good idea to consult one of the City Advisory Boards as to the appropriate allocation of funds among these groups.
Tune in tomorrow to find out.
Please do not fund any of these allocations to tourism, travel, and hospitality. We need this funding to go strictly to our city and the nonprofit organizations. Thank you so much for your consideration. Mary Langley
Let’s purchase the Post Office site in Central Park and put it under City control for future development.
I absolutely agree
Buy the post office property
It would be an incredible investment for the citizens of winter park
Now and for the future
How about Finally finishing the underground electrical which is taking a painfully long time.
Hey Todd, go check the staffing of the Library pre-Covid and then see what it is now. Also, go see what it has cost the Library to go mostly digital book delivery to the public. It is substantially higher than normal book check out. How about the major events that the Library puts on…cancelled for the past year or so. And finally, because of all the rancor concerning the Library and Events Center, fundraising has been quite difficult, but admittingly, has turned the corner for the better recently.
Residents were told the library was prepared for the future. That the new library would be chock a block with new features , services and products to take us into the future. Now we find out that the library (the current library) cannot even afford to be open full time. Sabrina Bernat just told the commission they need money for EVERYTHING…well above former levels of city $$ support. The cost of eboooks is nothing new. Staffing costs are not new. If we cannot even afford the library we have now…
The Library is a scam.
Functionally, it’s a Senior Center.
But they don’t call it a Senior Center because they want Winter Park to be a tourist town for the Millenials and Generation X.
So they call it a Library.
Go there any day of the week and you’ll see 70 somethings staring into computer screen fake news stories or reading the Sentinel and not much else.
The new “Library” at MLK Park is an Art Museum building that the City Commission is temporarily telling the residents is a Library, until about 3 years from now when they will announce that the buildings use will “evolve” then into a public Art Museum – even though making it an Art Museum was their intention all along.
The whole town is a scam.
People drive through Winter Park and think wouldn’t it be great TO LIVE HERE?
But what they don’t realize is it’s little more than a Hollywood set.
Once you get past Park Avenue and the nicely manicured front yards, the town is a cesspool of lies and corruption.
There are still some good people who live in Winter Park.
But one by one they are moving on to greener pastures.
Use the $13 million Federal Grant to pay off that much of the the MLK Park “Scambrary” debt Winter Park residents owe on it.