BCC approves $2.25M in ARPA funds for nonprofit capital projects

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the first round of the American Rescue Plan Act Nonprofit Capital Project Fund, with $2.25 million to go toward critical needs ranging from passenger vans to medical equipment.

A total of 34 nonprofits received approval for projects totaling $200,000 or less. Independent rank and review committees convened by the Pinellas Community Foundation recommended these 34 projects after vetting a pool of 80 qualifying applications, scoring them based on a variety of criteria, including their effectiveness at serving communities most affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pinellas County Government has partnered with the Pinellas Community Foundation to disperse $19 million to local nonprofits from the County’s $189 million in federal ARPA funds. The remaining nonprofit capital funds will be distributed in two rounds, with another round for additional small purchases of $200,000 or less and one for large purchases up to $5 million. Applicants will be reviewed in the coming months for recommendation to the Board for approval in early 2023.

For detailed information about the program, including application criteria, meeting minutes, and a full list of all submitted and recommended projects, visit https://pinellascf.org/grants/arpa/arpa-nonprofit-capital-project-fund. To learn more about Pinellas County’s overall ARPA investments, visit https://pinellas.gov/american-rescue-plan-act.

Behavioral health commitment

Continuing its support of behavioral health services in Pinellas, the Board approved ongoing funding for a program that provides intensive case management to clients identified by Pinellas County Human Services who have severe and persistent mental illness and have disproportionately accessed public resources. In its pilot phase, the program demonstrated improvements to client stability and reduced client utilization of public resources.

Clearwater Transit Center

The Board approved up to $8 million in funding to create a new Transit Center in Clearwater that will serve as a hub for more than 700,000 bus, rideshare, bike and scooter users get to and from downtown Clearwater, area beaches and beyond. Most of the $45 million project at the corner Court Street and S. Myrtle Avenue is being funded by City of Clearwater, Florida Department of Transportation, Forward Pinellas and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

ATMS/ITS for Alderman Road

The Board approved a grant agreement with Florida Department of Transportation for design of an Advanced Traffic Management System/Intelligent Transportation System (ATMS/ITS) project on Alderman Road from Alternate U.S. 19 to U.S. 19. The project will include fiber optic communication, dynamic message signs and cameras. It is intended to enhance the flow of traffic and provide motorists with information for alerts, incidents and evacuations.

Pinellas loves bees

The Board adopted a resolution designating Pinellas County as a Bee City USA Affiliate, as recognized by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The resolution recognizes the County’s commitment to the promotion and protection of pollinators, which are at the start of the food chain.