Eden Prairie city officials will see an influx of COVID-19 relief dollars from the federal government as soon as April.
That payment is expected to be the first half of $7.12 million that’s been allocated to the City of Eden Prairie as a result of the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress and signed into law earlier this month.
The second half of that relief package will come in about a year, said City Manager Rick Getschow. “It’s definitely good news,” he added.
“The anticipation is to fill a gap of lost city revenue,” he said, including revenue lost at the Eden Prairie Community Center, in facility rentals, and in recreation programs, all due to COVID-19. The city has lost $3.7 million in those areas, but Getschow says that number doesn’t take into account recent revenue losses.
The city will have a more accurate estimate of revenue losses in 2020 and ’21 when it gets updated financial statements in May. Following updated financials in May the city council will begin forming budgets for 2022 and ’23, said Getschow. The city has until the end of 2024 to spend the $7.12 million in relief money.
Eden Prairie received about $4.78 million in COVID relief last year through the federal CARES Act passed in April. That money had to be used for COVID-related expenses and could not be directly used for lost revenue, so much of it went to public-safety efforts and to personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep staff and city-building visitors safe from transmission of the virus. Nearly $88,000 was granted to the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation to support their work with businesses and local nonprofits.
City revenue-producing recreation programs and events have ebbed and flowed with the changes in pandemic-related restrictions over the past year. The Community Center, for example, was closed in March 2020, opened under tight restrictions in May, closed again in November, and re-opened in January. “And we’re still dealing with changing restrictions,” he said.
Getschow said in his recent “State of Eden Prairie” address he’s optimistic that community events, including the Fourth of July Celebration, are on their way back. However, he noted what those community events might look like is uncertain and depends on how the recovery from the pandemic is going.
Editor’s note: Mark Weber is executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, which received a CARES Act grant from the City of Eden Prairie in 2020.