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Murphy allocates $2.5M ARPA funds to police, non-profits

HOLYOKE – As one of his last official acts, Interim Holyoke Mayor Terence Murphy announced $2.5 million in allocations of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for fiscal year 2021 on Oct. 26.

Murphy said there is still $1.2 million left unspent from this second round of ARPA grants that could be reserved for future emergencies. He said his goal was to approve “a significant number of proposals” that would assist in the making of a safer and healthier work place for city employees, among other goals.

He noted, “These were not easy decisions.” There were nine proposals that were not funded at this time. His goal, he explained, was to make awards that would have “long-term impact.”

Murphy added, “We have to get the maximum benefit as possible.”

He cited how the Holyoke police will receive Tasers and training so all officers have access to that non-lethal weapon. Buying trash cans for the Department of Public Works that will allow for trucks rather than people to pick them up and empty them was another example of how the money would be spent.

The allocations also went to non-profits that provide services to the Holyoke community, such as the Boys & Girls Club receiving $300,000 that would create an additional 30 day care openings next spring.

Several other of the allocations address what Murphy said were the “emotional challenges” that came out of the pandemic. Those include $135,000 to the River Valley Counseling Center as well as $200,000 to Girls Inc. for a mental health program.

The awards include:

• The Connecticut River Conservancy and Holyoke Rows, $196,343 to help improve recreational access to the river

• Board of Health, $100,000 to pay for resource trailers

• Department of Public Works, $525,000 for the purchase of trash cans

• Valley Opportunity Council, $30,049, for job training and placement program

• The Care Center, $80,000 for its college program for Holyoke women

• SPARK E for All, $80,000 for its continued efforts for small business development programs

• Homework House, $70,000 for its afterschool and academic programs’

• Holyoke Public Library, $43,689 for its laptop lending program and its outdoor WiFi hotspot

• River Valley Counseling Center, $135,000 for its “Rise to Resiliency” training

• Girls Inc., $200,000 for its “Together We Rise” mental health program for girls

• Greater Holyoke YMCA, $110,000 for mental health support for Holyoke youth

• Alianza Domestic Violence Services (formerly Womanshelter/Companeros), $55,040 for a housing advocate for its “Pathways to House” program

• Holyoke Police, $138,000 for 40 Tasers and training

• Valley Opportunity Council, $164,062 for emergency stabilization for victims of domestic violence

• Roca, Inc., $250,000 for behavioral health interventions