UPDATE: Using Rescue Act Funds for Trails, Parks, and Conservation
In June, information was shared about the historic opportunity to use county and municipal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support parks, trails, recreation, and conservation in every community across PA. The details of that opportunity are outlined in the video and memo below:
Rescue Act Video: https://youtu.be/ykSt-Bic5uQ
Rescue Act Memo: tinyurl.com/sc88ab73
Although many municipalities and counties are currently discussing allocations to conservation projects, some municipal advisors had expressed doubt that this was an appropriate use of funds. Fortunately, the US Treasury recently provided an updated set of FAQs to provide further guidance on eligible uses for ARPA funds. The updated FAQs (as of July 19, 2021) make it very clear that investing in parks, open space, recreation, trails, and conservation are eligible uses for ARPA funds and that counties and municipalities have significant discretion in how to award funds to such projects. I have attached an excerpt of the relevant portion of the FAQs, which could be shared with stakeholders—including those who may be skeptical—when making the case of the use of funding.
Please share widely through your networks and with those who advise counties and municipalities (engineers, planners, solicitors, municipal staff, etc.). Most recipients have not yet allocated their funds, and this remains an incredibly important opportunity. Please share this with and encourage your leaders Commissioners, Supervisors, planning departments, commissions/boards, and all those who advise counties and municipalities (engineers, planners, solicitors, municipal staff, etc.) to invest in conservation, parks, and trails!
Thank you to Silas Chamerlin of York County Economic Alliance for providing this valuable information and updates!