Results are in from the Crawford County Community Interest Survey to see where they want American Rescue Plan funds to go

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PITTSBURG, Kans. — The results are in and Crawford County is preparing for its next step in the American Rescue Plan.

Greenbush has recently presented the results of its community interest survey.

Greenbush has been working with county commissioners to figure out the best way to use this money. And what better way to do that then ask the community.

And the community spoke, and the next step may actually include looking back to community issues which existed before the pandemic ever began.

“The American Rescue Plan really followed what Kansas called SPARKS, which is federal funds specifically designed to help communities respond to COVID and the negative conditions that have resulted from that,” said Mike Bodensteiner, Greenbush Consultant.

Crawford County commissioners have a little more insight to develop their spending plans for the 7.5 million from the American Rescue Plan. Recently the Greenbush Community Survey highlighted the needs the community was facing —- a lot of which had existed before the pandemic.

“What we’re finding is water and sewer infrastructure projects are a need of a lot of smaller communities. Childcare interestingly enough cut across all the stakeholder groups,” said Bodensteiner.

“It’s nothing new to us because it’s been like that the past 22 years,” said Ann Elliott, The Family Resource Center Executive Director.

The family resource center is one of several childcare facilities in the area who have seen the huge demand first hand.

“Currently our infant waiting list is about 61 and our toddler waiting list is about 58. In order to expand our infant and toddler care to any degree, we need a program that will financially subsidize child care providers,” said Elliot.

“We can develop a plan for how are we going to address that will include who will be the stakeholders, the process by which funds might be spent, it might be a grant program, it might look like something else, but we have to have a plan for each of these areas,” said Bodensteiner.

The spending is expected to take longer to complete than what the county experienced with sparks funding — commissioners will have roughly two years to decide what to do instead of a couple of months.

Officials want to use the time to really fine tune and quite literally get the biggest bang for their buck.

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