Gainesville’s $32M ARPA balance draws to zero

City of Gainesville meeting
The Gainesville City Commission allocated the majority of ARPA funds on Thursday night. (file photo - Seth Johnson)
Photo by Seth Johnson

The City of Gainesville continues to allocate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward projects across the city, but after a Thursday vote, the commission has earmarked most of the money. 

The commission began portioning its $32 million in funds last year. Many projects have yet to spend all their money and some dollar amounts remain estimates and subject to the decisions of the commission. 

The largest chunks of the ARPA money will go toward affordable housing with $9 million, aid to nonprofits with $6.9 million, general government services set-aside with $4 million and an UF urgent care clinic off of Hawthorne Road for $2.25 million.

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You can find stand-alone stories on those ARPA projects at:

At Thursday’s meeting, the commission voted unanimously to settle the $32 million balance with six staff recommendations.

The first would set aside $250,000 to fund a feasibility study for a cultural arts center and sportsplex at 8th Avenue and Waldo Road. Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut kickstarted that project in April that would expand and renovate the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and Citizens Field.

The second designates $250,000 for a joint Gainesville and Alachua County central receiving facility for behavioral health services. Both entities agreed to set aside $250,000 for the project.

Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry explained at the meeting that Alachua County raised the stakes, doubling their support to $500,000, and asked the city to do the same. 

Gainesville already set aside its original share several years ago and decided to meet the county at half a million by adding the other $250,000 through ARPA funds.

The third finances Gainesville For All’s Gainesville Empowerment Zone Family Learning Center at $350,000. The organization came before the commission in May, but the commissioners wanted more information. After working with staff, Gainesville For All returned and asked for $500,000.

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe speaks at Thursday's special meeting.
Courtesy City of Gainesville Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe speaks at Thursday’s special meeting.

Not wanting to fund repairs on a school district building, the commission approved $350,000 for staff, teaching materials and internet access.

The fourth staff recommendation moves $1 million in ARPA funds from eviction assistance to the $8 million already earmarked for affordable housing. 

Currently, city staff is figuring out how to spend that money on affordable housing. That report will come before the commission on July 28. 

The penultimate part leaves $4,216,228 in the general government set-aside for other city programs. 

The last recommendation approves funding for the Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative (GINI). The commission approved up to $500,000 in May and has awaited estimates for a final decision. 

The programs will likely cost just short of $300,000, according to Zeriah Folston, interim director of the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Commissioners threw out ideas on how to use the remaining funds, from sidewalks and bus shelters to utility debt forgiveness. 

Ultimately, the commissioners agreed to place the money into the general government set-aside, bringing that fund to its final $4,216,228. 

City of Gainesville ARPA Projects: 

  • Aid to nonprofits: $6,981,322 million
  • UF’s East Gainesville urgent care center : $2.25 million
  • Energy rehabilitation program: $1.9 million
  • Community Resource Paramedicine (CRP) Program – $1 million
  • Community Land Trust: $1 million
  • Vision Zero: $1.2 million
  • National League of Cities One Nation/One Project: $648,176
  • Violence Intervention: $621,483
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): $300,000
  • Utility Debt Forgiveness: $250,000
  • Human Rights Coalition – Community ID: $35,000
  • Nonprofit Capacity Building: $18,678
  • Affordable Housing: $9 million 
  • Homeless Outreach: $400,000
  • General Government Services Set-Aside: $4,216,228
  • Language Access / GINI: $300,000
  • Gainesville For All: $350,000 
  • Central Receiving Facility: $250,000
  • Feasibility studies for the Cultural Arts Center and Sportsplex/8th and Waldo: $250,000

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What a bunch of buffoons! The GNV City “bleeders (not leaders)” profess their elimination of single family zoning will solve affordable housing problems in Gainesville but they don’t commit one cent to building housing areas that are actually affordable for the people whose back GNV elites shop, eat, drives, learns (UF elites are excluded here!)! I would tell the GNV Mayor and Commissioners to get a clue but they know exactly what they are doing! Selling out to the nonprofit that cries the loudest! Can you spell cronyism? They have a chance to actually take vacant properties and build housing for the underserved and HOMELESS but they don’t do it!!!! BS!