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Morgantown recognized for community ARPA outreach efforts

MORGANTOWN — The city of Morgantown’s efforts to involve the community in the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds has earned it some recognition. 

Communications Director Andrew Stacy was presented with a Crystal Award by West Virginia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America last week in Charleston.

Morgantown got just over $11.2 million in ARPA funds, half of which was received in spring 2021.

Shortly thereafter, the city’s communications department spearheaded engagement efforts last fall, including the creation of an ARPA website, an online survey and two community forums, among other initiatives.

City Manager Kim Haws previously said the outreach generated some 4,000 community suggestions.

Morgantown City Council used that feedback to prioritize a spending plan using the first $5.6 million installment on a list of initiatives split into five categories: Strong Vibrant Business ($1.2 million); downtown and neighborhood investment ($1.15 million); physical and mental health resources ($1.15 million); water and sewer infrastructure ($1.75 million); and technology ($350,000).     

“This award is the result of a lot of support, planning and teamwork,” Stacy said in a Monday press release. “It was important for the city to hear from its residents on how to spend these funds and I’m glad we were able to provide a way for their voice to be heard. This award is an acknowledgement of those efforts and we’re thankful to the PRSA West Virginia Chapter for recognizing our team.”

According to the city, the engagement process and action plan have been used as guides for several other municipalities and were highlighted as a leading example by the Southern Economic Advancement Project in its ARPA “Good Examples” report, which was referenced by the U.S. Treasury in its blog.

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