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First look at how St. Louis County could spend millions in COVID relief funds

A recent survey and series of town hall meetings addressed citizen priorities for the $83 million.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — In a Monday public briefing, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced his administration's recommendations for how to spend $83 million in ARPA funds, based on community input

The process was carried out through seven town hall meetings and a survey, which Page said more than 3,000 people participated in.

In the survey, officials asked residents to rank spending priorities like health care, infrastructure, homelessness, access to mental health services, child care and job and household assistance.

In the past, Page said, "Hearing from our residents on what the needs are in their communities is critical especially as we talk about recovering from this pandemic."

Page said in the Monday briefing the top three issues that came out of the community input were healthcare, education and infrastructure. 

That includes access to mental health services, including those for children, repairing roads and sidewalks, access to childcare and early childhood education, support for small businesses and access to substance abuse treatment.

St. Louis County originally received $193 million in ARPA funds. The county has appropriated $108 million of the money, leaving county residents to voice their thoughts on how the remaining dollars should be spent.

In the briefing, Page gave an outline on his administration's recommendations for the ARPA funds: 

  • $5 million to the MET Center in Wellston, Missouri, which provides job training and other workforce development specialties. 
  • $7.5 million to support small businesses in the county. "Family-owned businesses are the backbone of our community," Page said. 
  • $10 million to assist nonprofits in providing child care, increasing access to food and expanding health care services.
  • $10 million in a "rainy day" fund for emergency spending, Page said. 
  • $15 million to repair and maintain roads, especially in unincorporated areas of St. Louis County.
  • $5 million for the Jamestown Mall demolition in Florissant, Missouri, to make the area "more appealing to developers," Page said. 
  • $10 million minimum to the North St. Louis County Business and Workforce District on University of Missouri–St. Louis' south campus.

Page said the St. Louis County Council would be meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday to go over a "comprehensive download" of survey results with Deloitte, the creator of the survey.

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