Reno County Resident Engagement Using ARPA Funds

A task force of representatives from organizations serving Reno County, along with elected leaders and public officials, formulated a bold plan of conducting up to 60 community listening sessions in early summer and late fall of 2021 throughout Hutchinson and Reno County to find out from as many diverse voices as possible how residents would prioritize spending of $17-plus million earmarked for Reno County from the American Rescue Plan Act. This substantial infusion of resources to meet pandemic response needs presented an exciting opportunity to rebuild a stronger, more equitable economy and community, impacting Reno County families most in need.

The goal was to invite citizens to convene a meeting of eight to 20 Reno County residents who offered their ideas on how our local governments can equitably spend ARPA money. Forty-two meetings were held during that period, gaining input from a wide variety of individuals. 

The community listening session period has ended; however, Reno County residents have two more chances to voice their ideas.

WHAT: Final ARPA Reno County Resident Engagement Meetings

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 and 10:00 a.m. Oct. 21 

WHERE: Cosmosphere, 1100 N Plum in Hutchinson

The public is invited to these 90-minute discussions led by a facilitator, and participants will focus on the following broadly defined spending areas:

  • Equity-focused services
    • Example: Addressing disparities in health care access or quality housing.
  • Broadband infrastructure
    • Example: Addressing areas in Hutchinson and Reno County without internet access.
  • Support pay for essential workers
    • Example: Premium pay for essential workers through grants.
  • Addressing negative economic impacts
    • Example: Assistance for workers and families, small businesses, or impacted industries.
  • Water and sewer infrastructure
    • Example: Improvements to infrastructure that include new facilities.
  • Replacing public sector revenue loss
    • Example: Assistance to continue local government services in the event of budget shortfalls.
  • Supporting public health response efforts
    • Examples: Assistance for mental health services, pay for public health employees or services aimed at containing the spread of COVID.

Input collected from all of the meetings will be presented to the LEADCOMM team at Kansas State University’s Staley School of Leadership Studies, who will synthesize the findings in a final report to be presented later this fall for consideration by Reno County governing bodies as they make the ultimate decisions on how ARPA funds should be spent.

Useful Links

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Your ideas so far

NAACP ARPA meeting

"Affordable and quality housing options"
"More grant funding for local organizations working on racial discrimination"
BIPOC health care professionals: "Initiatives for POC professionals"
"Free child care in conjunction with early learning center"
"Job training programs for displaced workers"
"Government pay the build-out cost or percentage of it to provide Ideatek services everywhere in Reno County. Payback will be monthly payment for services, jobs, increased internet use"
"Create countywide free wifi"
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Community Task Force Partners

Aubrey Abbott Patterson, Hutchinson Community Foundation
Debra Teufel, Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce
Tony Finlay, Hutch Rec
Jackson Swearer, StartUp Hutch
Lisa Gleason, United Way of Reno County
Calvin Wright, Hutchinson NAACP
Logan Leuenberger, Young Professionals of Reno County
Lynette Lacy, Leadership Reno County