Smithfield’s Joseph W. Luter Jr. Sports Complex will receive a lighted football field ahead of schedule, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act.
Last year, Congress passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which provided the city with $8.7 million. The city council approved a slate of projects on April 5 for its remaining $3.4 million in unspent funds, which includes adding lights, public restrooms, a media room and a booth. concession on the football field for $395,000.
Smithfield Packer Youth Sports, which caters to children ages 5 to 14, uses the field for football and cheerleading practices and games. The youth sports group had received a $20,000 grant from Musco Lights, but the total cost of the lighting project alone was estimated to be between $160,000 and $180,000 last year. Before the vote on April 5, the project was to be funded by the city in the 2024-2025 fiscal year.
Another $500,000 in ARPA funds will go towards constructing maintenance buildings at Windsor Castle’s sports complex and grounds, and resurfacing the park’s walking paths.
An amount to be determined will be used to fund the municipal portion of the Isle of Wight County Park-to-Park Trail.
Last year, the county completed its 3.1-mile segment of the paved bike and pedestrian path, which spans Nike Park and Battery Park roads. The remaining 1-mile city-funded segment will extend the path along South Church Street and across the Cypress Creek Bridge to connect Nike Park to Windsor Castle Park.
Smithfield’s ARPA funds will not cover the full cost of the city part, which is now estimated at $6 million.
The city also plans to spend just over $15,000 to renovate the city-owned outdoor stage in front of the Smithfield Times office, and just under $100,000 to add automatic sliding doors and rehabilitate the terrace of the Smithfield Center.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation announced in February that it had selected the joint Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism Department to participate in its DRIVE 2.0 program – a statewide initiative to make more sustainable tourism industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic – which will provide a $10,000 grant to each participant.
The grant, along with Smithfield’s ARPA contribution, will be used to lower the stage and make it longer so that railings are not needed. The stage and lawn outside the building serves as the venue for the Isle of Wight Arts League’s free summer concert series.
An amount to be determined will also be allocated to repave the badly worn sidewalks on Grace Street and to add push-button walk/no-walk signs at the intersection of Main and South Church streets.
City Council’s vote to approve the specified ARPA expenses was unanimous, with Councilwoman Beth Haywood absent.
Updated US Treasury Department guidelines allow localities to claim a “standard allowance” of $10 million in lost public sector revenue when documenting their use of ARPA funds. Since the city only received just over $8.7 million, the city is able to claim all of its funds as intended for lost revenue, according to City Manager Michael Stallings, which now allows greater flexibility in how these funds are spent.