State awards nearly $95 million in ARPA funding to several community projects, including city of Springfield, The Kitchen and Council of Churches

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 12:31 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:48 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - The Department of Economic Development (DED) awarded a total of $94.15 million through the Community Revitalization Grant Program for 70 projects across the state.

Details on recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant Program are available here.

The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is focused on investing in communities of all sizes to support local priorities, encourage economic recovery, and build resilience for the future.

“We’re excited to announce these significant investments through the Community Revitalization Grant Program to help strengthen our communities and the future of our state,” said Governor Mike Parson. “As we continue our work to ensure our state’s economy remains strong, these grant awards will make a real difference for local communities. Projects funded through this program will benefit Missourians all across our state by supporting critical services and addressing local needs.”

The city of Springfield is getting $3.7 million of the state’s funding that will be used in the downtown area as part of the Renew Jordan Creek project.

“We’re extremely grateful for that and looking forward to the impact it’s going to have in our community,” said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. “We will be using it for a variety of purposes but a major part of that will be for flood control in the area just north of the square. That area is prone to flooding so just being able to deal with storm water issues is very helpful. In addition the funding is going to focus on the amenities that will go with the Renew Jordan Creek project like making the daylighted area a place where people will want to come and spend time. It will be an economic driver for our community. If we look at the people who live in center city right now many times it’s a lower income or higher poverty rate than what we see elsewhere. So we want to use that funding to help that area grow and develop as well as help the businesses.”

Meanwhile those who oversee the Council of Churches, who just opened its new headquarters this week on Division Street, were surprised to find out their organization will be getting $1.9 million dollars through the grant program.

“We’re really early in the process of what we are planning so I was not optimistic at all,” said Council of Churches CEO Jaimie Trussell.

But as it turned out that the Office of Economic Development wanted to support the COC’s intentions of building a permanent women’s shelter.

“We are the only emergency shelter of its kind and each night 30-50 women find that the best place in Springfield to spend the night is on a cot in a gymnasium at a partner church,” Trussell explained. “We have to do better by these women and we want a long-term solution where not only can they spend a night where it’s safe to sleep, but they can also spend the day working on alleviating obstacles to homelessness.”

The Council of Churches will have to provide matching funds for the project and find an available property to build the facility so Trussell says it may be a year before they have a finished plan in place.

“We’ll have to do some fundraising and groundwork,” she pointed out. “We would like to keep the occupancy to about 50 but we need different stages of housing. We need the emergency shelter for folks who have no where else to go. We also need step-up housing so folks working at full-time jobs can find a more permanent solution. So we’re looking at all the above.”

The Kitchen will also be using its new grant money to help the homeless as the $2.5 million from the state will go towards expanding its 13-unit emergency shelter.

“We’ll be able to add 12 more units and increase the opportunities to fill that gap between homelessness and getting them into permanent housing,” said Meleah Spencer, the CEO of The Kitchen. “It’s a struggle right now to find enough low income affordable housing and our shelter is a place where they can safely stay for a limited time until we can get them into a permanent home.”

Among the other recipients of grant money in our area:

-- The city of Houston is getting $900,000 for its library and business center

-- Downtown West Plains is receiving almost $377,000 for small business support

-- Elevate Branson will get $1 million for affordable housing

-- The city of Noel will use its $250,000 for downtown revitalization

-- And the city of Rolla’s $495,000 will go into its park system

The Community Revitalization Grant Program was launched in September 2022. The program awarded competitive grants to applicants, including municipalities, counties, and nonprofit organizations, to benefit households, communities, and small businesses affected by the pandemic. Grant awards will fund a variety of projects, such as downtown property renovations, business skills training, homelessness prevention, and more.

“This program will have a real, positive impact for Missouri communities while supporting our state’s economy today and in the future,” said Maggie Kost, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development. “Thriving communities mean a thriving economy and more opportunities for Missourians to prosper. We’re grateful to help achieve that through strategic investments in local areas that need support the most.”

“This program will be transformational in its impact for citizens from all walks of life in communities throughout our state,” said Shad Burner, Director of Federal Initiatives for the Department of Economic Development. “Communities of all sizes and regions have experienced major difficulties in recent years, and our team has worked hard to make the most of this historic opportunity to provide assistance. After many months of planning and collecting public feedback, we’re proud to announce the award of grants that will improve the lives of fellow Missourians while strengthening the places they call home.”

A total of $100 million was allocated to the program. A portion of the funding total was reserved for each Missouri region based on population, and every region except for the North region exhausted its reserved portion. DED will hold a second round of funding for the North region, which initially had $10 million available and will have approximately $4 million available in the second round. Details on the second round will be shared at a later date.

To learn more about DED’s ARPA-funded grant programs, visit

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