TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Vigo County Commissioners presented a plan to the Vigo County Council on how to spend a portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds on Tuesday.
It involves roughly $3 million of a total of $21 million ARPA funds at the disposal of the county. The funds would go towards updating various structures and bridges in the county and a new Vigo County Annex Entryway.
17 structures or bridges would be improved with the funds. The potential new entryway is expected to improve security at the building and improve ADA services.
Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer said that these two projects have been on the minds of commissioners for years.
“This is just two projects that are kind of low hanging fruit,” Switzer said. “It’s something that commissioners in the past have wanted to do for several years but just haven’t had the opportunity to do because of a lack of funding.”
However, some county council members have concerns with the proposed plan. Councilman Todd Thacker was one who raised concern. He was one of multiple members who preferred to see an overall strategic plan on how to utilize all of the ARPA money instead of multiple rollouts.
“If we just dribble this money out and do little things, then we don’t have any big impact,” Thacker explained. “I would like to show the community that we’ve put our heads together.”
A thought mentioned by many is that this is unique opportunity for county officials. $21 million of federal funds to be used on projects that would benefit the community is a rare opportunity. Thacker said that he hopes for collaboration amongst county officials to spend it properly.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Thacker stated. “$20 million that we need to spend for the benefit of the taxpayers is a good problem to have and I want to be apart of that.”
Currently, the bridges and annex projects are the only two projects on the table for the county council to vote on at its next regular meeting. For now, Switzer suggested that it’d be difficult to put together an entire strategic plan in a short amount of time.
“To come up with a plan and also work collaboratively with other agencies in the community is tough to do,” Switzer explained. “For right now, this is just two examples of projects that we can get done immediately.”
As Switzer suggested, timeliness is key. As the country continues to deal with inflation, Switzer said he would like to see these projects move along quickly.
“One thing that you want to do today and what it cost today is completely different tomorrow,” Switzer said.
ARPA funds must be spent by the end of 2026.