TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Vigo County Council allocated over $2 million in spending for a number of projects around the community on Tuesday. 

All of the projects were related to the American Rescue Plan Act, federal legislation connected to the start of the pandemic. Four projects totaling $2,250,000 were approved during the meeting, listed below:

  • $750,000 for the expansion of Happiness Bag
  • $750,000 to the creation of a West Central Indiana Business Hub in downtown Terre Haute
  • $500,000 to St.-Mary-of-the-Woods College for their equine center
  • $250,000 to the Terre Haute Humane Society’s veterinary clinic

Council president Todd Thacker said Tuesday’s vote allows these projects to move to the next step.

“I would say we’re two-thirds of the way through. We got educated on it, we identified who these people are that’s going to be the benefactors of it, and then them coming to request and telling us about it, now it’ll be back to the commissioners to make sure that money gets distributed,” he said. 

The timelines for each project are different. For example, Jodi Moan, the executive director at Happiness Bag, said they plan to start construction sometime next spring. Work on the veterinary clinic for THHS could start in the coming months. 

Thacker acknowledged it’s been a long road to get to this point but he’s excited to see these projects come to fruition. 

“When I look at an ARPA project, that is where we’re trying, and we’re not just giving them money for the beautification of something, we’re changing people’s lives. So for each of us, we all have to think what is it we want out of ARPA funds, and then vote on it accordingly,” he said. 

There are still several ARPA projects that haven’t reached this step yet. Other plans– like $5 million for housing initiatives– still need to be voted on. 

In other news, the council approved pay increases for the highway department. The Vigo County highway engineer Larry Robbins said he is down half of his mechanic staff and is not getting any applicants. The raise is retroactive to Jan. 1st of this year.