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Asheville City Calls for Community Project Initiatives

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

ASHEVILLE – The City of Asheville is calling for proposals from local organizations and agencies for a community portfolio of projects to be considered for funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The project portfolio will be available at www.ashevillenc.gov/economicrecovery for public review and will also be made available to state or federal agencies in an effort to demonstrate the community’s capacity to effectively use recovery funds.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) specifies the types of projects and programs it seeks to fund within the complete text of the bill. The version of the bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives can be found here (PDF). Text of the version that passed the U.S. Senate is available here. Focus areas in both bills include public infrastructure projects (roads, bridges, mass transit, water and waste water facilities, digital infrastructure, etc.), renewable energy, weatherization, health and human services, and education, among others. The act prohibits the use of funds for casinos or other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, and swimming pools.

While the House and Senate bills have many of the same elements, the exact amounts spent on similar items and programs varies. The bills have advanced to a joint House/Senate committee where differences between the two bills will be worked out. According to news reports, Congressional leaders hope the legislation can be sent to the President to be signed into law by Feb. 16.

H.R. 1 gives preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously, with a specific goal of awarding 50 percent of available funds to projects that can be initiated within 120 days of passage of the act. The act also emphasizes the use grant funds in a manner that maximizes job creation and economic benefit. A summary of goals outlined in the act states its intent:

  1. To preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery;
  2. To assist those most impacted by the recession;
  3. To provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health;
  4. To invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits, and;
  5. To stabilize State and local government budgets, in order to minimize and avoid reductions in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases.

Proposals can be submitted to the City of Asheville using a Community Project Proposal Form. Information requested for each submission includes: a description of the project or infrastructure investment; purpose of the investment; total cost of the investment and an estimate of how many jobs it will create; project schedule; a brief description of how the project will achieve the goals of the Recovery Act, and; contact information for the proposing agency.

Completed proposals and questions about submittals can be sent to [email protected].

Although there is no deadline for submissions, it is strongly encouraged that projects be considered as soon as possible while final passage of the act is considered. Any projects that advance for funding consideration via the City of Asheville if and when funds become available through the programs described in the legislation will be subject to City Council consideration and approval.