ARP + ESSER Funding

Is Your Community Taking Advantage of the Billions in ARP-ESSER Funds?

Looking for some assistance in funding your school playground, outdoor fitness center, or outdoor classroom? ARP-ESSER funds can be used to meet those needs.

In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan was signed to provide additional relief for individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Plan also includes funding for state, local and tribal governments as well as education—known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER). 

All funds must be incurred and obligated by Dec. 31, 2024. Funds must be expended, and work completed by Dec. 31, 2026.

According to experts connected to the parks and recreation field as well as schools, the ARP is unlike any prior funding because ALL counties, cities, and schools will receive funding. Additionally, these experts believe it’s one of the most flexible spending bills. So how can you take advantage of this funding?

Texas received $1.3 billion in ESSER I (Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief) funding, an additional $5.5 billion in ESSER II, and $12.4 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (also referred to as ESSER III).  

Your Municipal and School District leaders are deciding now how to use these funds. Here are just a few ideas for how funding from these resources could be used:

  • Build an outdoor classroom allowing children to spend more time outside learning.
  • You can build new playgrounds or renovate old ones, add a splash pad or shade or outdoor fitness equipment.
  • Create inclusive play spaces that allow children of all ages and abilities to play together.
  • Add sensory play that will allow children of all ages and abilities to integrate and develop their senses. 
  • Add site amenities such as benches, trash receptacles, bike racks, etc.

Reach out to your community leaders to find out how these funds are being used! 

See how your community is spending those funds.

Learn more about parks-related eligibility as well as how your school playground projects may be eligible to use these funds.

Let Us Help You!  Have you checked to see if ARP/ESSER funding applies to your upcoming projects? Does your city/county or school already have an ARP/ESSER plan? If you don’t know, inquire with the appropriate person within your city/ county or school. There could be additional funding available. We’d love an opportunity to support your upcoming projects. Contact us to get started on a project plan today.  

See below for ideas on how park and school projects might be eligible:

Parks-Related Eligibility:
  • Services designed to build stronger neighborhoods and communities and to address health disparities and the social determinants of health.
  • Investments in parks, public plazas, and other public outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Enhancements to outdoor spaces for COVID-19 mitigation or to improve the built environment of the neighborhood.
  • Maintenance to address the increased use of parks during the pandemic, which may have resulted in damage.
  • For all the above, think playground equipment, outdoor fitness equipment, shade structures, splash pads, or general maintenance.

Schools-Related Eligibility:

  • Student mental health
  • Repairing and improving school facilities to reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards—Outdoor classrooms + shade
  • Addressing the needs of children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth— Inclusive playgrounds
  • Addressing learning loss— STEM- and reading-related playground designs

Let’s get started on your project today