Chester County today began accepting applications for funding requests from a pool of nearly $102 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline said the grants are intended to provide an infusion of resources to meet pandemic recovery needs and to accelerate the ongoing rebuilding of Chester County’s economy.
“We are inviting municipalities, public authorities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in Chester County, as well as organizations that provide substantial service to the County, to send us their proposals,” Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said. “We have set up a unique structure to evaluate the applications, in which members of the community help determine how their tax dollars are spent. I’m so proud of this model.”
At the heart of that structure sits a committee of 36 volunteers, half County employees, half residents. Commissioner Josh Maxwell said the committee has created a system, following ARPA guidelines, to review and prioritize proposals.
“The committee has formed six teams to address each priority for ARPA funding,” Maxwell explained. “The teams will evaluate the proposals and present their recommendations to us for final consideration. Having the community involved is extremely exciting. They know their local needs best. I look forward to seeing the recommendations they produce.”
The Commissioners acknowledge worthy applications could exceed the available $102 million. That means in addition to selecting winning proposals, the committee could, in some cases, approve an application, but recommend funding less than the amount requested. In addition, awards may include phased funding. There is no minimum or maximum amount of funding that can be proposed.
“Committee members have a big job ahead of them,” added Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “They must consider and analyze the impact of this money not just on our economy but on the county’s workforce and the families who live here. The pandemic took a toll on many people’s physical and mental health as well as their finances. These dollars are about recovery. That is a factor I hope all committee members keep in mind as they conduct the evaluations.”
Chester County has designed the ARPA application so that applicants provide the necessary information for the evaluation teams to make their recommendations to the County. Eligible entities must indicate their interest in funding by completing the online application.
The deadline for applying is May 16, 2022. If an applicant is unable to complete the electronic application, they may request a printed copy by emailing ARPA@chesco.org.
“The people in Chester County help one another. We are confident that the spirit of the community and supporting neighbors will shine through in the decisions our committee of volunteers make,” Commissioners Moskowitz, Maxwell and Kichline said.