Government officials are now launching critical projects once passed over because of funding restrictions
America’s infrastructure, which includes every critical component of life for citizens, is receiving long-overdue attention. With available funding, cities, counties, institutions of higher education, school districts and hospitals are launching projects of every size and type, and most of the funding is coming from the federal government or private sector investments.
It is important to remember that this unique moment in history will not last. The abundance of currently available funding will stop! Government officials know there is a day in the not-too-distant future when they will again be operating on strained budgets that hold no promise whatsoever of available funding that will allow them to launch much needed infrastructure projects.
Because of that knowledge, visionary leaders are taking every possible advantage to bring funding to their states and regions. The projects being launched in many regions will enhance economic development, life quality for citizens, improved public safety and sustainability of public assets for the next several decades.
Not all state leaders are aggressively pursuing the available funding, and while wondering why that is the case, examples of upcoming project launches in various states are described below.
State mental health officials in Oklahoma will soon launch a $137 million psychiatric hospital upgrade. Griffin Memorial Hospital, which serves as a valued resource for Oklahomans with mental illness, could be moved from Norman to Oklahoma City. The hospital has been in Norman for a century, but the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services says a plan to move the facility is under consideration. Officials have indicated that the new hospital may be built near Oklahoma State University’s campus in Oklahoma City. This initiative is being led by several governmental partners from the state, county and city. And, some private donors are also investing in the project. A land sale of the current property would also generate revenue and funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has been allocated to the partnership initiative as well. The project will move quickly because ARPA funds are required to be spent by 2026.
A $44.8 million construction project for a new City Hall in Clearwater, Fla., is moving quickly, and construction should be underway by 2024. The project, currently in the design phase, will outline plans for a 41,679-square-foot city hall. The project will include a public plaza green space that connects to the Pinellas Trail, and the new building will be located across from where the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority plans to build a $44.5 million modernized transit center. The existing parking lot of the nearby Municipal Services Building will be enhanced, and onsite parking is also a component of the development plan for the area surrounding City Hall.
City leaders in Bath, Maine, will soon launch a $16.5 million construction project for a much-needed new fire station. The current facility was constructed in 1958 and is inadequate for current needs. A 2020 assessment pointed to several concerns, including poor air quality, the lack of a sprinkler system, diesel exhaust contamination, inadequate garage bays and unsafe stacking of emergency vehicles. Construction on the new facility is scheduled to begin in 2024.
Council members in the city of Fishers, Ind., have announced plans for a new $60 million community center. The main level of the facility will include a 5,300-square-foot indoor playground, an aquatics center and an 18,600-square-foot gymnasium. The second level will be designed to incorporate a walking track and fitness activities. The project will also include development of a dog park and numerous accessibility features that include a zero-depth entry pool, a water wheelchair, and various types of fitness equipment. Complete construction documents for contractors will be available soon and construction is slated for 2024.
A partnership coalition between city and county leaders in Washington has been formed to launch an infrastructure project that will focus on public safety. The city of Port Angeles and Clallam County will share joint oversight of a project to deliver a new $13 million Joint Public Safety Facility. The project, currently in the design phase, locates the new facility behind the Airport Garden Center. It will be designed to house the Clallam County Emergency Operations Center and a new 911 call center, which will be managed by the Port Angeles Police Department, along with other public spaces. The city and county will be joint tenants of the new facility.
City officials in Lincoln, Neb., have announced plans to build a new, much larger Malone Community Center. The $20 million effort will include demolition of a current 14,000-square-foot facility and the construction of a new 52,000-square-foot facility and parking space. The new building will include community space, offices, classrooms, a computer lab, conference facilities, gymnasium and a kitchen. Construction will begin in 2024.
The city of Surprise and Maricopa County in Arizona will deliver a state-of-the-art Resource Center which will provide services to the Northwest Valley. The new facility, which will be approximately 36,000 square feet and designed to provide multigenerational resources, has been tagged with a projected cost of $26 million. The effort will be funded by the city, the county and federal ARPA funding. The project will proceed through the design phase in 2023, and construction is scheduled for 2024.
Other major projects being launched through partnerships, alternative funding and support from federal programs include efforts that include enhancing sustainability, upgrading water treatment facilities, ensuring technology security for power grids and the construction of school facilities.