Fayetteville City Hall. Melissa Sue Gerrits / Carolina Public Press

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FAYETTEVILLE — City Council members unanimously put their support behind a preliminary plan Monday to use federal dollars to fund local businesses, housing and infrastructure.

The funds are from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress in March 2021, from which the city of Fayetteville will receive more than $40 million.

The city will receive the funding in two sets. The first arrived last May, and the next round will come next month, according to the city.

The council accepted a preliminary plan for the first set of dollars at Monday’s agenda session. Once city officials finalize details for the federal funding, a detailed report will be presented to the council.

ARPA can be used on initiatives involving response to COVID-19, local income loss due to the pandemic and investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

According to federal guidelines, ARPA funds must be earmarked for a specific purpose by the end of 2024, and the dollars must be spent by 2026’s close.

Where the money will go

Each focus area — business, housing and infrastructure — will get $5 million from the first batch of $20 million from ARPA. The other $5 million will be used for administrative purposes.

Plans for the business portion include loans and grants for businesses and child care assistance.

The $5 million for housing would go to nonprofit agencies that service low- to moderate-income households.

A portion of the housing dollars would also go to a housing trust fund that would, among other things, fund construction of housing for households earning 80% of the area median income or less.

Council member D.J. Haire asked that city officials focus on housing near Amazon’s new plant currently under construction. The online retail powerhouse is projected to create up to 500 jobs by the time operation begins, Carolina Public Press previously reported.

Infrastructure funds would be used as contributions to existing construction associated with stormwater mitigation and renovations to public buildings, among other projects.

Some of the dollars would be used as matching funds with other federal programs, which would allow for increased investment, Assistant City Manager Adam Lindsay said.

“We are facing an opportunity to make a major, major advancement ahead in those projects if we spend the dollars in a strategic way,” Lindsay said. 

“We can take those same dollars and turn them into a match, which means that leverages those dollars into a potential 5-to-1 ratio.”

Ben Sessoms

Ben Sessoms is a Carolina Public Press staff writer based in Fayetteville. Send an email to bsessoms@carolinapublicpress.org to contact him.

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