Harrisonburg Homeless shelter, fire station, 5 other ARPA projects beginning to move forward

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 2:12 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The enhancement of community space, government services, the expansion of affordable and accessible housing, increase to affordable childcare, along with neighborhood improvements and investment into mental health improvements. These are the six categories which Harrisonburg city council decided to allocate the nearly 24 million dollars of American rescue plan act funding in December 2022.

“City staff and city council have been working very closely with the community to understand what the needs are that we might be able to address with these ARPA funds. But also knowing that these funds are originally intended to also help communities that have suffered during the pandemic especially as it relates to a loss in tax revenues,” City of Harrisonburg’s director of communications Mike Parks said.

Some projects moving forward now were paused because of the pandemic, like the replacement of the kids castle at Purcell park which costs $2.65M, but also the construction of new projects like the city’s new homeless services center which will cost $5M.

The site located on north main street looks to house up to 100 guests with hopes to be completed and up and running in November.

“We are hoping to finalize design on this building which will allow us to put out a bid for potential construction companies that would be interested to come in and start working on the additions on that property that need to be put in place to be able to house individuals overnight,” Parks said.

Another new addition is the city’s fifth fire station, which Parks says has been in discussion among the city for years. Although there is still a decision to be made on location, the desired spot will be in the northern part of the city.

“It will dramatically reduce response times in the Park View area, to the EMU community, the VMRC community, a number of individuals we serve on the northern end of Harrisonburg,” Parks said.

Although things are getting started with many projects around the city, Parks says some of the ARPA funded projects like the homeless services center and fire station 5 will take more time.

“Mental health programs, childcare, some of those efforts that we’re going to be working with community organizations to make sure these funds can get out to groups that can help us with some of these projects some of these programs that will in turn help people in our communities,” Parks said.

More information on Harrisonburg’s ARPA spending plan can be found on the city’s website.