KINGWOOD, W.Va. (WBOY) — Preston County received $6.48 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and the Preston County Commissioners began to award some of that money on July 12 at its commissioners’ meeting.
At the community meeting held on June 10, the commissioners listened to more than 13 groups voice out where they believed the money should go. Fast forward to July 12, the commissioners awarded $2,300,987 to 11 projects out of the 19 that requested funds.
“We don’t get this opportunity often,” Preston County Commissioner Don Smith said. “These are like building blocks. This is the first step to even bigger things.”
Projects awarded and how much they were gifted:
- Arthurdale Heritage ($65,759) – for security system and outdoor event space.
- Friends of the Cheat ($154,000) – Cheat River Rail Trail.
- Kingwood Water Works ($252,000) – clarifier covers.
- Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission ($225,084) – Tunnelton Rail Trail Park.
- Preston County Workshop ($85,200) – expansion of production and processing capabilities.
- Preston County Youth Center ($236,058) – completion of construction.
- PSD #1 ($670,000) – waterline extension and Masontown interconnection.
- PSD #4 ($155,712) – raw water source project.
- Town of Newburg ($200,000) – independence water line extension.
- Town of Newburg ($125,000) – sanitary sewer improvements.
- WVU Extension ($132,174) – SNAP Stretch for one year.
“The other (requests) aren’t a no, we’re just waiting for additional information to qualify them,” Preston County Commissioner Samantha Stone said.
While ARPA gives the Preston County Commissioners a “wonderful” opportunity to improve the county, the decision was tough for them to narrow down who should receive what funds.
“This is an opportunity that arose from a historical pandemic. It’s been a very tedious and strenuous process,” Stone said. “There’s definitely more need than dollars.”
Preston County Commissioner Dave Prices echoes some of the same thoughts as Stone.
“You have $50 million of need and only $6 million to use and so it makes it a little bit tougher, but I think it’s been fairly used and awarded and we have a few more to do and I think it’s all good,” Price said.
After awarding some of its ARPA money, there is a little bit over two and a half million dollars left to give out. The commissioners said they didn’t want to hold the money until everybody was ready so that some projects can already get to work as quickly as possible.
The groups will have to go through certain requirements set by the commissioners to receive the funds. That deadline is before its next meeting on Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m. The commissioners looked to invest in projects that would make more of an impact on the entire county.
“You want to make sure you have the most impact with the money. You have to look at the overall impact of it,” Smith said.