How Starkville plans to spend projected $5-7 million in COVID-19 Relief funds

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Millions of dollars worth of COVID-19 relief money is coming to the Golden Triangle courtesy of the federal government. 

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill says they’re expecting to get between $ 5.6 and $ 7 million alone.  

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“That’s a lot of money to spend if you’re not ready to do something with it,” she said. “Fortunately, we have some projects that we have that are geared up.” 

The city is set to receive half of the money in 2021 and half of the money in 2022. They have until December 31, 2024 to spend it all. 

The use of the COVID relief money must meet specific parameters outlined out by the federal government in the $ 1.9 trillion COVID Relief Bill. 

“What Starkville is trying to do anyway, fits in with what the limitations are on the use of the money,” Mayor Spruill says.   

Mayor Spruill says the city’s first priority will be addressing costs that were not covered under the first CARES Act, such as reimbursement for firefighters and other first responders who had to work overtime. 

“You had to pull out other firefighters or police officers or personnel because they were working,” she says. “They had to work overtime in order to make up for the people that we had to put in quarantine.” 

Next will be boosting tourism, specifically sports-related tourism with the addition of new baseball fields in Cornerstone Park.

“Ten fields are good for rec ball, 12 fields are great for sports tourism,” she said. “So those additional two fields can come out of those funds.” 

After that, the mayor says they will continue replacing the water and sewer infrastructure within various Starkville neighborhoods. 

“Our long-range plan is to go neighborhood by neighborhood,” Mayor Spruill said. “Our next neighborhood that’s currently under construction is Green Oaks.” 

Mayor Spruill says this additional funding will be vital for all cities in Mississippi as they continue to build back up in the wake of the pandemic.  

“We were not hit as hard as others, but we still felt the pain, and we’re looking forward to being able to do something positive and constructive with these funds,” she said. 

Mayor Spruill says she expects the first half of the money to be available within the next 30 to 60 days.