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Sterling allocates $370,000 in federal stimulus funds

Daily Gazette - 4/18/2024

Apr. 18—STERLING — The City Council on Monday allocated $370,000 more of its $1,968,192 pool of American Rescue Plan Act funds "to address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency" that was the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biggest recipient so far has been the downtown Sterling Theater, which since Feb. 7, 2022, has been granted $456,000 in ARPA funding to repair the roof, improve lighting and replace the seats, among other economic aid and improvements.

In addition to showing movies, it is "a full-service, brew-and-view" venue, offering drinks and food service.

The building is owned by the Greater Sterling Development Corp. The business, which is run by a local nonprofit board, admittedly is not a money-maker, but it also is designed and supported to help attract customers to other downtown businesses, as well as to maintain a unique downtown landmark that serves as a focal point, city officials have said.

The second-largest project is an upcoming GSDC multifamily affordable housing project that still is in the works, so details so far are sparse.

It is expected to be built near the Sterling Park District Duis Center sometime within the next year and so far has been allocated $400,000 in ARPA funds.

On a unanimous vote, and at the recommendation of the ARPA Committee, council members Monday agreed to give:

—$175,000 to the new Wayfinding System of downtown directional signage.

—$150,000 to the downtown Sterling Theater for new seating and improvements.

—$20,000 for phase two of the Sterling Main Street Shoppes at Grandon Plaza downtown retail incubator.

* $15,000 to the Sterling Main Street Flower Basket Program.

—$10,000 for phase two of mural restoration work.

That leaves $697,442 in the city's ARPA account, which must be allocated by January and spent by the grantees by Dec. 31, 2026.

At the moment, there are more requests for money than is remaining, City Manager Scott Shumard said.

The committee continues to review requests.

The $1,270,750 already committed includes:

* $300,000 for Sterling Theater improvements/aid (roof, operations), approved Feb. 7, 2022.

* $250,000 for a Sterling Industrial Development Commission multifamily affordable housing project that is in the works, approved Sept. 19, 2022.

* $150,000 for a Greater Sterling Development Corp. land acquisition for that multifamily housing project, approved April 17, 2023.

* $50,000 for the Sterling Main Street downtown Shoppes at Grandon Plaza retail incubator project, approved Feb. 7, 2022.

* $45,000 for the front deck of the indoor Twin Cities Farmers Market, approved Feb. 7, 2022.

* $30,000 for the Whiteside Healthier Partnership Child Trauma Project, approved July 18, 2022.

* $25,000 for the Sauk Valley Community College Impact Program (half of what was requested), approved July 17, 2023.

* $12,250 for two informational kiosks downtown, approved July 17, 2023.

* $11,000 for historical signs for downtown buildings, approved July 17, 2023.

* $10,000 for phase one of mural restoration, approved Sept. 6, 2023.

* $10,000 for Whiteside Healthier Partnership Child Trauma Project regarding truancy, approved July 17, 2023.

* $6,000 for Sterling Theater improvements/aid (exterior lights and neon), approved June 5, 2023, ($25,000 was requested).

* $1,500 for the People for PCs project, which distributed free personal computers to some recipients, approved Aug. 1, 2022.


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