City seeks $43.3 million in ARPA funds from state government
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the amount of funds requested by the city. The projects are expected to cost $80.2 million, but that figure includes matching funds from the city.
While deliberating on how to spend the rest of their federal coronavirus aid, Springfield city leaders are calling on the state government to use their federal aid to help fund eight projects in the queen city.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden a year ago. More than $673 billion of these funds have been earmarked for state and local governments.
In August, the city accepted its first installment of its total $40 million aid. So far, they’ve set aside some of those funds for the Health Department and approved retention payments for firefighters, police and city health workers.
But the state government is receiving its own allocation of $2.8 billion in ARPA aid, a portion of which will be given to local Missouri municipalities.
In his January State of the State address, Governor Mike Parson outlined how the state’s ARPA funds will be spent.
Major projects on college and university campuses would receive a total of $470 million; drinking water, storm water and wastewater systems would benefit from an investment of $411 million and $400 million for the expansion of broadband in rural areas.
But Parson also announced that $250 million of the funds will go to cities and towns for local development. Which municipalities and projects are selected ultimately depends on the state legislature, which hopes to make those allocations during its current session.
According to a document obtained by the News-Leader, Springfield is asking the state government for $43.3 million in state funds — outlining the eight projects the money would be spent on.
“The City of Springfield does not generally request appropriate funds for capital projects like many other cities do. Therefore, we have taken great care to create a set of projects that we believe will fully meet your expectations. “wrote Mayor Ken. McClure in a letter to state lawmakers.
“Our proposal is a one-time request totaling $80.2 million, with $36.9 million in local matching funds. It aims to create long-term transformational impact for Springfield. This proposal provides an opportunity to drive our future economy and benefits from strong community support, good local funding and the ability to get proposed projects contracted and completed in a timely manner.”
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Here are the eight projects as they were described in documents sent to state lawmakers.
Renew Jordan Creek
Daylighting Jordan Creek in downtown Springfield has been a long-standing project for the city. Last year, they approved $6.2 million of city money to expose portions of Jordan Creek to daylight that currently flow through underground culverts.
The plan’s goal is to help improve water quality and solve the flooding problems that have plagued downtown for years, while making the downtown area more aesthetically pleasing.
Upon completion, Jordan Creek would be exposed in the open and surrounded by native plantings and other landscaping as well as space for pop-up retail, food trucks, event pavilions, footpaths and pedestrian bridges over water, according to a presentation by city engineers last year.
The project will cost $15 million in total. The city is asking the state government to cover the remaining $8 million after the $6.8 million the city has already invested.
“The project would light Jordan Creek to public visibility to improve flood control and improve water quality. In addition, it will create a public park space connected to a trail for special events, entertainment, dining and community gatherings,” read the speech to lawmakers. .
Cooper Soccer Complex
This project involves the renovation of the 18-field Cooper Park/Lake Country soccer complex located at 2334 E. Pythian. It features state-of-the-art synthetic turf on 8 upper pitches, accommodating up to 3,500 spectators, a new fan hall, new concessions, new toilets, new changing rooms, lighting and additional spectator upgrades on the pitches existing budding.
The city originally approved $5 million for the renovation just over a year ago. Of a total cost of $10 million, the city is asking the state to match Springfield’s previous investment.
“The conversion turf on the field allows for additional activities (Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee, Cheer, Band, etc.) and is considered a great asset by traveling sports tournament organizations. These improvements would improve regional tourism not just in Springfield, but for the State of Missouri,” the letter to lawmakers read.
According to the city, the renovated soccer complex would increase community spending by up to $32 million per year.
Lecompte Road Improvement Project
This project first arose to meet an additional demand for industrial warehousing at Springfield Underground. The current roadway is a two-lane secondary artery averaging 23 feet wide with limited shoulders. It serves as the main route for industrial traffic east of US Highway 65.
“Its design is simply not adequate to handle the increased traffic demands of Springfield Underground. When upgraded, this carriageway will be wider, have three lanes and enough shoulders to handle much more industrial commercial traffic,” indicates the letter.
According to the city, the road improvements will develop nearly 100 additional acres, representing approximately 700,000 square feet of future manufacturing and warehouse space, with 150,000 square feet ready for construction, supporting up to 1,450 new jobs.
The total cost of the project is $4 million, and the city is requesting $1.5 million from the state’s ARPA allocation.
Fieldhouse Facility Anchor Expansion
Recently purchased by the city with some controversy, the city hopes to expand the Fieldhouse Sports Center in southwest Springfield with the help of public funds.
Spending $7.5 million to purchase the facility last summer, the 46,000 square foot facility currently has four full-size gymnasiums. The proposed expansion would add at least four additional college-size mixed-use fields, additional support facilities and parking.
“This upgrade potentially enables local and regional tournament play. This facility will complement existing and to-be-built court facilities in our community, leveraging Springfield as a national anchor for indoor and traveling tournament sports.” , reads the letter to lawmakers.
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According to the city, the expansion would double the current regional and national tournament capacity, which would increase tournament spending by more than $10 million per year.
The total cost of the expansion is $10 million. In their request, the city is asking the state for $6 million.
Educational Wing of the Springfield Museum of Art
In 2018, the Springfield Art Museum unveiled a 30-year master plan to bring the museum’s campus into the “22nd century”, at a cost that could run into the tens of millions.
Part of this effort is a new educational wing of the museum, for which the city wants state support.
“This project is about renovating, replacing and expanding the museum’s existing education wing to create a more usable, flexible and engaging space,” reads the letter to lawmakers.
“This new education wing will house flexible learning spaces and a STEAM education center that will include a crafting space, an upgraded library space and an expanded family learning center, complete with an exhibition gallery of interactive and hands-on learning.”
According to the city, the new wing will increase our regional tourist appeal for Springfield by at least 100,000 people annually by providing “the most vibrant cultural offerings in southwest Missouri.”
The city is asking the state for $5 million, out of a total cost of $13.9 million.
Improvements to the Cooper Baseball and Killian Softball Complex
This project would provide synthetic turf to all baseball and softball fields at the Cooper and Killian baseball complexes and convert one field into a championship field/stadium.
The upgrades will also provide new spectator seating, dugout areas, lighting, a new rotunda at Cooper, a fan contest area with new concessions, restrooms, scorer areas, a public address system and signage.
According to the city, the improvements would increase local tourism spending by nearly $6 million annually.
The total cost of the project is $13.3 million, including $8.8 million requested from the state.
Chadwick Flyer Trail Development
Connecting Springfield to Ozark, the 27 km trail stretches from downtown Springfield to the Finley River Trail in Ozark.
In partnership with Ozark Greenways, the project would rehabilitate 11 km of the trail and connect it to neighborhoods, schools, rivers and economic hubs in Greene and Christian counties. Portions of the trail are already built in Christian County.
“This regional trail will create a positive health and recreation experience for residents and visitors, significantly improve outdoor tourism by connecting our Ozarks amenities, and increase talent attraction. The Razorback Trail in Northwest ‘Arkansas is a tremendous recreational and economic success story,’ the letter read. “The Chadwick Flyer Trail project will complete the portion of the project from Springfield to Christian County. Simply put, regional trails are quickly becoming a staple of tourism across the country,”
The city is asking the state for $5 million, out of a total cost of $8 million.
Springfield Expo Center
The Springfield Exposition Center is a 112,000 square foot facility in the city – hosting regional trade shows, exhibits and other events.
According to the city, a modern commercial kitchen must be added, in addition to replacing the roof and the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.
“The Expo Center is one of Springfield’s premier regional tourism facilities, complementing our hotel network, restaurants and host of special events,” reads the letter to state lawmakers.
The city also noted that each three-day, 1,000-person conference that Expo Center hosts brings about 3,000 hotel nights and $1.5 million in total spending to Springfield.
“Upgrading this facility and adding on-site catering will bring in millions of additional dollars from outside the region,” they write.
The total cost of the project is $6 million, including $4 million requested from the state.