Beginning Oct. 31, businesses, nonprofits and other community organizations will have the opportunity to apply for $11.36 million in recovery grants from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The funds have been allocated for four uses: social service programs and projects, aiding in local economy and nonprofit recovery, infrastructure and capital investments and mitigation and prevention investments. Director of Community Development Cosmas Diamantis noted that the deadline to award the grants is December 2024; the deadline for fund expenditure is December 2026.
“We’ve done our best to give the services, the organizations and businesses who are operating in Cherry Hill the most flexibility that we can,” Diamantis said. “The nonprofits that are doing their good work day in and day out, they know the community, they know their needs better than we do.
“So we’ve done our best to structure our programs to give them the flexibility to tell us what their needs are and how the funding will help them with their current programs, (or) perhaps new programs they see are needed or help them with any financial losses that they’ve experienced,” he added.
Diamantis’ presentation at the Oct. 11 council meeting showed there are two main types of grants, including those aimed at recovery from losses experienced during the pandemic. Reimbursements can go to businesses, nonprofits, third-party community service providers and government agencies.
“We’re trying to make these businesses and entities whole again,” he said.
The other type of funding is a prospective, reinvestment grant to look at projects and programs to be supported in the future.
“It’s a two-part analysis,” Diamantis explained. “They have to identify an impacted group or individual, and then they have to design a program that will help get the funds to that group or individual in the form of a service, a good or other assistance …
“To the extent that we can help some of the sub-recipients serve these disproportionately impacted groups, that’s another positive and another consideration.”
Diamantis explained that the grant funding takes place in two rounds; recovery grant applications are available on Oct. 31 and due tentatively on Jan. 31. The township will begin drafting grant agreements for the first round in March of next year. During November and December, the township will hold information sessions for residents, small businesses and nonprofits to help them understand the programs.
The grants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. After that, there will be a second round of applications for reinvestment grants in 2023.
In other news:
- There will be a public hearing on Oct. 26 about both the municipal budget and ordinance 2022-5.
- Copies of the municipal budget are now publicly available at the municipal building and online.
- Council approved the purchase of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible lactation prefab pod for the township library. It will provide nursing mothers with a private space to nurse. The pod will have a fan system, a pump and seating for children and will be secured and locked.
The next council meeting will be held next Wednesday. Caucus will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting will start at 7:30.