At its regular meeting on September 21, the Santa Paula City Council approved the proposed allocations for the second half of the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The final disbursement of these funds will go toward several projects that encourage continued recovery and prioritize a high quality of life for Santa Paula residents.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, it has been so wonderful to have these funds to help our community thrive,” said Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. “These funds are being used for a wide range of projects and efforts, including infrastructure projects that ensure safe drinking water, continue our street pavement efforts and pedestrian crossing improvements, beautify our community, support youth, seniors, and community events, enhance economic development and so much more! The City Council took great care in making these decisions, and we are confident they will not only help improve the quality of life for our residents, but also help our community and local businesses move forward and become even stronger.”
The first ARPA funding allocation that was received in July 2021 was used to assist local businesses and organizations, support City programs and projects and improve service capabilities. The City funded efforts to revitalize downtown to support small businesses in Santa Paula and help them stay open. The funds were also used to purchase the Mobile Activity Center (M.A.C.) for the Parks and Recreation Department, which allowed staff to bring youth programming to children across Santa Paula despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Additionally, City Council also provided $250,000 in relief for local non-profits that supported the community throughout the pandemic.
To properly earmark the final allocation of ARPA funding, City staff worked closely with the City Council during multiple special meetings to determine a robust list of projects, programs and partnerships that align with the Council’s Strategic Goals. Following an extensive review process, the City Council approved the funding disbursement plan which will fund several projects and programs that benefit the community, including economic development, community center upgrades and support for green initiatives such as electric charging stations. The City Council also set aside funds for new traffic signals at the Palm and Peck intersection, a new communication system for the Police Department and a pilot program to test Spanish interpretation services at public meetings.
As upgrading Santa Paula’s aging infrastructure has been an ongoing priority for the City, approximately $1.5 million will be allocated to replacing the two old MESA tanks with new water storage tanks. Additionally, $1.5 million of the City’s total ARPA allotment will also partially fund the Harvard Boulevard Improvement Project, which will improve the roadway pavement along Harvard Boulevard from 10th Street to Peck Road, replace the water and sewer mainlines and include pedestrian access ramp replacements. Work has already begun on this project and it is expected to be completed near the end of 2024.
“City staff worked hard to develop a project list that encompasses long-term benefits for Santa Paula,” said City Manager Dan Singer. “These necessary investments in our infrastructure and community programs help ensure that the City will remain resilient for decades to come while reducing impacts on our local tax base.”
On October 11, the County of Ventura Board of Supervisors approved a $90 million allocation of ARPA funding received toward the County’s funding blueprint, which included two important projects in Santa Paula. Thanks to the support of Supervisor Kelly Long and the rest of the Board of Supervisors, $250,000 has been set aside to remodel the Santa Paula Boys and Girls Club restroom and $100,000 has been designated to improve the Community Center.
“I am thrilled our Board of Supervisors was able to support American Rescue Plan Act funds for the Santa Paula Boys & Girls Club restroom renovation as well as the Santa Paula Community Center Enhancement projects. These invaluable community improvement projects meet many of the needs of our City’s youth, working families and seniors. This is exactly what these funds were intended for. I appreciate the opportunity to partner with the City of Santa Paula to make this a reality,” said Supervisor Kelly Long.
Any changes or additions to the ARPA funding allocation request will be brought back to Council for approval. For more general information on the City’s finances, please visit the City’s website.