VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Terre Haute and Vigo County leaders discussed the process for doling out more than $50 million in federal funds Thursday morning.

Terre Haute City Council joined Vigo County commissioners for a special meeting Thursday focused on compliance and eligibility when it comes to awarding American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“These ARPA funds are one pool of money. We also have READI funds, we also have casino funds that are coming. So, we’ve been working with the county to look at all of the projects, all of the things we want to do and then figure out which funding source is the best for each of these so we can do everything,” Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said. “We want the dollars to go as far as we possibly can.”

The meeting was open to the public, and many stakeholders were in attendance.

“The stakeholders could be somebody that we would like to fund directly on a project and there is also stakeholders that will manage the process for us. So, if you’re a not for profit, or own a small business, there will be an application process that will soon appear in the next couple of months, probably, that you will be able to apply for some of these funds,” Bennett said. “And so, today was just the beginning of laying that foundation, the groundwork of how the funds will work its way from city and county out into the community.”

Susan Turner, Executive Director of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, says over the last 12 months, the museum has gone through a strategic planning process as well as a master facility planning process.

“We identified that there is a great need in downtown Terre Haute for an outdoor play space. So, we would like to use some of the money from ARPA funding to create an outdoor play space,” she said.

The play space would be located on 8th Street and would be part of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum. Turner said the project would also add a public use green space.

“We generally know based on our community plan what the needs are. We know that. And so what we’re trying to find now are people who want to bring a project or an opportunity that could be funded that will meet some of those community goals,” Bennett said.

Stakeholders are working with Baker Tilly to confirm eligibility. Then, if eligible, will present their project to the city and county for possible funding approval.

“I’m really excited about this funding. Not just for our project but for the whole community. This is a huge infusion of funds. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Turner said. “I’m really proud of our leaders for taking the time to understand all the rules and regulations, the ins and outs, and really looking at where we are as a community. Looking at our community plan and being intentional about how they’re investing for our future.”

All ARPA funds must be fully committed by December 31, 2024, and expended no later than December 31, 2026.