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Lee County Commission approves American Rescue Plan funding request forms, agreement with Loachapoka for park funding
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Lee County Commission approves American Rescue Plan funding request forms, agreement with Loachapoka for park funding

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The Lee County Commission meets on Monday in Opelika, Ala.

The Lee County Commission unanimously approved application forms for local organizations to request funding granted to the county through the American Rescue Plan at the commission’s meeting Monday.

The application forms will go live on the county’s website beginning Friday and must be filled out along with all other necessary documentation by Nov. 15, according to the resolution passed by the commission.

Along with basic information about the organization requesting funds, funding requests will also have to specify what project the funding will go towards, what their greatest need related to COVID-19 is, how many Lee County citizens the project will support, a list of the organization’s board of directors, a financial report from the last two years of the organization and a complete breakdown of funding sources for the organization.

About $32 million in federal stimulus money has been allocated for Lee County as a part of the American Rescue Plan. Lee County has received the first half of the ARPA money, and the rest is expected to come in June 2022. The county has until December 2024 to decide how to spend the money, and the money must be spent by the end of 2026.

The commission also approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with the town of Loachapoka to provide funds to help create recreational opportunities in the town’s new park at its Monday meeting.

The park, which is located off Alabama 14 where the Loachapoka Community Center was previously located, currently consists of about 4.3 acres and has a walking trail with historic placards detailing the town’s history.

As a part of the agreement, the county will provide funding, assistance, maintenance and improvements to the existing walking trail as well as the development of a playground and pavilion.

“I am so glad to see that we’re supporting this,” Commissioner Robert Ham said. “Commissioner [Richard] LaGrand got this started not long after you took office, and I commend you for doing that. This is something we’ve talked about doing for a decade that I’ve known of, and it needed to happen.”

While an exact dollar amount for the improvements and maintenance to the park was not given, County Administrator Roger Rendleman said the funding would come from the county’s recreation allocation set aside for the town of Loachapoka, and anything needed beyond what funds are set aside for the town would have to come back to the commission for approval.

“Right now, [the funds] would cover stuff like playgrounds, improving the walking trail, putting up a pavilion and those kinds of things,” Rendleman said. “Anything greater than that would have to come back to the commission for additional funding.”

Secretary Janet Yellen is telling Congress that the Treasury Department will likely exhaust all of its "extraordinary measures" to avoid an unprecedented default on the government's obligations by Oct. 18.

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