116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Fueled by $11 million in federal pandemic aid, the Linn County Board of Supervisors approved funding Wednesday for 39 applicants — including programs to increase affordable housing, reduce gun violence, address mental health needs and support food distribution — in its first round of divvying up the county’s share of the relief money.
Linn County will get a total of $44 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Of that, the county will take $11 million for its own lost revenue and administrative costs during the pandemic, a category allowed under the federal rules. That leaves $33 million to dole out — the $11 million awarded Wednesday, and $22 million more after May or June.
Half of the money awarded Wednesday went toward social services, public health, affordable housing and capital investment, while the other half went toward sewer and water infrastructure.
A list presented Monday by Supervisor Chair Ben Rogers was approved 3-0, with the supervisors meeting in person, as the final list for funding the $5.5 million in the first category with social services. Rogers said the county was looking to prioritize projects with one-time funding and the potential to leverage other dollars.
“This list for round one represents a really good cross section,” Rogers said. “Round two will have more high dollar asks we simply couldn’t represent in round one.”
Foundation 2 Crisis Services received the largest amount in the social services category, at $900,000 for a new headquarters. Foundation 2 Chief Operating Officer Erin Langdon said the award is transformational for the organization.
“It will help us respond to those in crisis,” Langdon said. “It’s going to allow us to support our teams in a better way. We are currently about 140 people and are continuing to grow.”
Together We Achieve: $3,650 for Hot Meals for All
LULAC/NAACP: $17,460 for Immigrant and Refugee Community Gardens Project
Kids First Law Center: $20,000 for Advocacy for Children of High-Conflict Divorce
Together We Achieve: $23,980 for food box giveaway
LBA Foundation: $35,450 for CR Dreams expansion
Discovery Living: $50,000 for healthy, safe homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities
Horizons: $50,000 for Neighborhood Transportation Service
Linn County Community Services: $53,645 for Innovative Offers for New Safeguards (OPTIONS)
Ecumenical Community Center Foundation: $60,000 for Just Getting There ARPA Boost/Helping Hands Ministry
Linn County Community Services: $70,000 for Linn County Housing equity needs study and assessment
Willis Dady Homeless Services: $75,000 toward three applications
Feed Iowa First: $100,000 for expanding land access and increasing local food production
NewBo City Market: $100,000 for expanding “The Hatchery” for entrepreneurship equity
Kids First Law Center: $100,000 for Restorative Justice Prevents Youth Violence
Aging Services: $145,000 for Kingston Hill Residential Care Facility flooring replacement
HACAP: $150,000 for Linn County affordable housing expansion
Linn County Public Health: $200,000 for My Care Community Coordinated Community Response
Horizons: $240,000 for Meals on Wheels
ARC: $250,000 for better access, inclusion and recreation
Gutschmidt Properties: $250,000 for “missing middle” affordable housing jumpstart
Indian Creek Nature Center: $250,000 toward farmer education workshop and increased accessibility
Linn County Food Systems Council: $250,000 for food access, resilience and equity grant program
Matthew 25: $250,000 for healthy homes and food
Eastern Iowa Health Center: $500,000 for increasing access and opportunity to COVID-19 education, vaccinations and general medicine for underserved Linn County populations program
Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation: $605,315 for comprehensive gun violence reduction
Boys/Girls Club: $750,500 for Unlocking The Future initiative
Foundation 2 Crisis Services: $900,000 for headquarters facility
In addition to social services, more than a dozen local communities were allocated funding for water and infrastructure:
- Bertram: $220,000 for water extension to City Park/Blains Crossing
- Center Point: $200,000 for Lewis Access main water
- Central City: $137,289 for Marion Road South Street improvements
- Coggon: $478,800 for water main infrastructure project
- Fairfax: $425,000 for water supply system
- Hiawatha: $266,500 for Robins Road water and stormwater infrastructure upgrades
- Lisbon: $1 million for Well 5 improvements
- Mount Vernon: $1 million for sanitary sewer rehabilitation
- Palo: $35,000 for study of water source
- Prairieburg: $28,000 for sewer line project
- Walford: $300,000 for wastewater UV project
- Walker: $1 million for replacement of water main on Greene Street
“As far as (the category for water and sewer infrastructure) goes, we vetted everything the best we could,” Supervisor Louie Zumbach said. “I think my colleagues did a good job going through them and as a whole, it’s a good system we used.”
The county has received over $75 million in requests so far, more than double the money it has to award. Organizations not chosen in round one will be automatically considered this summer during round two. The county expects to receive the remaining $22 million of its federal funding in May or June.
The largest ask, from the Cedar Rapids Public Library seeking $6 million for a new library and opportunity center on the city’s west side, was not awarded any money Wednesday. Rogers has said that the project is intentionally in round two when there is more money available. The city of Cedar Rapids expects to provide millions in federal pandemic funds, pending City Council approval, later this spring. The westside library, currently in a leased space, also provides support services with partners Kirkwood Community College and the United Way of East Central Iowa including financial counseling, help with job placement and training and navigating health care options.
Over 20 other requests asking for more than $1 million are on the county’s application list as well.
“When you look at the requests, I think it tells you that despite a lot of progress and prosperity in this community, there are still a lot of challenges and people who require these services,” Supervisor Stacey Walker said. “Whenever this board is put in the position of awarding funding, whether its local tax dollars or federal dollars, it is quite challenging. We know every organization is worthy, but we have to make decisions using the best information we have.”
Cedar Rapids separately has been allocating some of its $28 million in ARPA funding, though the city and county also have a joint process. The city’s first round was approved in February.
Projects that receive both funding from the city and the county include a total of $100,000 to Discovery Living, $300,000 for HACAP and $212,000 to Feed Iowa First.
The two local governments are also so far splitting the cost on the Boys and Girls Club’s request of $1.5 million for a new facility in the Wellington Heights neighborhood, as well as funding to Together We Achieve for food box giveaways.
The county also approved $75,000 to Willis Dady for an employment hub. The city has allocated $559,703 to that project.
Next, organizations will be contacted by the county about their awards and the next steps moving forward to receiving the funds.
Linn County Senior Accountant Sonia Evans said there is no definite answer for when organizations will receive the funding and that it will be dependent on the project being funded.
“We have the option to offer grants based on lump-sum payments, lump-sum installments or reimbursement of expenses,” Evans said. “All of these methods will require quarterly reporting requirements.”
While applications not given funding in round one will automatically be considered for round two, the application portal will open up again for the next process.
Director of Policy Darrin Gage said Wednesday that the county and city hasn’t touched base yet about round two, and whether or not they will use the same system for it.
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