Pueblo Got $36 Million In Federal COVID Aid. City Residents Can Tell The Mayor How To Spend It

Brett Mach/for CPR News
Some of the flags that fly along the Union Avenue Bridge that crosses over the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk in Pueblo, Colorado, March 16, 2020.

More than $2 billion in federal funds will soon flow into the coffers of Colorado’s cities and counties thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act.

It’s aimed at economic recovery and stabilization from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Pueblo is expected to get more than $36 million.

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar said it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city.

“Fortunately we don't have to spend all the money overnight. Part of it we will want to get in the economy right away by putting it in people's pockets,” he said. “Part of it will be more considered, (based on) what ideas do people have about how we can help Pueblo recover.”

Final federal guidelines for using the funds aren’t in place yet. The money could be used to help essential workers, families and small businesses, along with building tourism, youth programs and other projects. The city is hosting five town hall meetings this week to get suggestions on how to use the money.

Gradisar says the city will collaborate with other local agencies on planning for the funds, including the county, which is in line to get more than $30 million.

He said this injection of money into the local economy will help move Pueblo forward.

“Anytime we can get money in the hands of people, they're going to spend it. And you know, they're probably going to spend it in the community, and that'll just generate a demand for goods and services here that will be beneficial to everyone including the city,” he said.

The first half of the funds will be distributed by May 10. The second half will come a year later. It can be used on eligible costs through Dec. 31, 2024.

Scheduled town hall meetings:

  • Tuesday, April 20: 10 a.m., Steelworks Center of the West, 215 Canal St.
  • Tuesday, April 20: 6 p.m., Rawlings Library — Ryals Room, 100 E. Abriendo Ave.
  • Wednesday, April 21: 6 p.m., La Gente Youth Sports, 2804 E. 12th St.
  • Thursday, April 22: 6 p.m., Virtually on Zoom
  • Friday, April 23: 10 a.m., St. Pius X Catholic Church, 3130 Morris Ave.