LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Laurens county leaders are working to allocate American Rescue Plan funds for infrastructure and non-profit projects.

“Council has a huge task ahead of them,” said Laurens County administrator Thomas Higgs.

On Tuesday night, Laurens County non-profit organizations made their case to the council, hoping to receive community grants.

“Council determined to allocate $2.5 million for non-profits and outside agencies and then another 2.5 million dollars toward infrastructure projects,” said Higgs.

Both grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan. Higgs said one of the considerations for awards is how the organization was impacted by the pandemic.

“What was directly impacted by COVID, what was partially impacted by COVID, and what was a non-impact whatsoever,” said Higgs.

Higgs said the county received 5 infrastructure applications and 34 community grant applications. The total amount requested for community grants is more than $9.2 million and the total amount for infrastructure projects is more than $4.5 million. Higgs said, now, Council has to figure out how to divvy up the money.

“Out of a small chunk of money, they have to take a bunch of requests and narrow it down to fit into those parameters,” said Higgs.

Higgs believesd each applicant has a worthwhile cause and was affected by the pandemic.

“The astonishing thing to us was that every organization in their proposal was directly impact in some way, or partially impacted. Every request,” said Higgs.

Family Promise of Laurens County applied for $45,000. The non-profit works to provide stable housing for families.

“About 60 percent of families come from the Clinton area, and about 40 percent of our families come from Laurens,” said executive director Mary Lynn Tollison.

Tollison said one way the non-profit helps is by hosting families at local churches, but when the pandemic hit, their plan changed.

“When churches shut down, and congregations were not in their full occupancy, and we had limited volunteers to host families and spend the night in the churches, we had no other place for families to go other except for hotels,” said Tollison.

She said part of their request will recoup those expenses. Some of it could also pay for technology upgrades, client services, and remodeling a permanent, static housing space at a local church.

“This money is critical to meeting the needs of our families, and especially the needs of children,” said Tollison.

She’s hopeful Family Promise will receive at least a portion of the request. Higgs said allocating the money is a big task, but said it’s an important investment in the county.

“We’re realizing a lot of potential and opportunity that otherwise we wouldn’t have. With that comes the responsibility to make sure it’s spent correctly,” said Higgs.

Next week, council will hear from applicants for infrastructure grants and continue conversations about how to award the money. Higgs said Laurens County received $13 million in American Rescue Plan funds. He said so far, they’ve received half of that amount, and will receive the other half next year.

ARPA Infrastructure Grant Applications Received and Amounts Requested in Laurens County:

  • Laurens Commission of Public Works: $2,331,266.40
  • LCWSC HWY 418 Waterline Improvements: $552,379.00
  • LCWSC HWY 418 Metric Road Water Supply: $759,000.00
  • LCWSC Fibertex Pump Station Upgrade: $346,250.00
  • Presbyterian College: $601,654.00

ARPA Community Grant Applications Received and Amounts Requested in Laurens County:

  • Straight Street Youth Center: $14,060.00
  • Laurens County Trails Association: $16,000.00
  • Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic: $16,000.00
  • Beyond Abuse: $40,000.00
  • Fountain Inn Kid Enrichment Center: $42,000.00
  • Family Promise of Laurens County: $45,000.00
  • Center for Community Services: $50,000.00
  • Laurens County Chamber of Commerce: $50,000.00
  • P.A.I.A. Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC: $50,000.00
  • Dental Share Network of Laurens County: $60,000.00
  • Laurens County Trails Association: $70,000.00
  • Rotary Club of Laurens County: $75,000.00
  • University of South Carolina Union-Laurens: $75,000.00
  • Bell Federation Center of the Blind: $90,000.00
  • Bridging the Gap Advocacy: $98,000.00
  • Camping Ministries of the Carolinas, Inc: $100,000.00
  • Tranquility Point: $135,000.00
  • Main Street Laurens USA: $135,000.00
  • United Ministries of Clinton: $150,000.00
  • Presbyterian College: $161,500.00
  • Cultural Arts Foundation of Fountain Inn: $200,000.00
  • Laurens County Safe Home: $200,000.00
  • Thornwell: $240,232.00
  • American Legion Post 25: $250,000.00
  • Laurens Memorial Home for the Aged, Inc: $250,000.00
  • The Laurens County Museum: $250,000.00
  • United Way of Laurens County: $250,000.00
  • Eight Circuit Solicitor’s Office: $300,000.00
  • Laurens County School District 55: $300,000.00
  • South Carolina Empowerment Centre: $350,000.00
  • The City of Laurens: $700,000.00
  • Young Mens Christian Association of Clinton: $1,000,000.00
  • City of Fountain Inn: $1,517,00.00
  • Lakelands YMCA – Laurens: $1,971,000.00