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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

April 13, 2022

ARPA, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, was signed into law on March 11, 2021, in response to the economic downturn brought on by mandated business closures due to COVID. $350B of ARP’s total $1.9T provided emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to replace lost tax revenues as well as to provide support for small businesses, nonprofits, and essential workers that were impacted by public health mandated business closures. The Rescue Plan also included a Capital Projects Fund to promote new infrastructure for communities in need. (1)

Municipality-owned fitness centers have traditionally operated at a deficit, requiring on-going subsidies from tax revenues or other public sources. As a result of lower enrollment and higher operating expenses due to COVID, many municipalities also applied a portion of their ARP funds to subsidize their centers’ resulting in larger operating deficits. Still, other municipalities applied ARP funds to needed recreation center capital investments, such as Baltimore investing $25M of its ARP funds into updating its recreation centers, playgrounds and athletic fields and courts (2). In smaller communities, the municipal recreation center may be one of only several fitness options, filling an important void left by shuttered commercial gyms.

In either scenario, ARP funds and/or tax subsidies are not long-term financially sustainable solutions for recreation centers. Municipalities must adopt alternative cost-neutral strategies that address community fitness needs. For 25 years, Power Wellness has helped provide solutions to these challenges through consulting and management services for municipalities, health systems, foundations, and colleges. We believe institutions can offer innovative and affordable wellness programs while balancing strict budget requirements. To learn more about how Power Wellness can help your municipality, please call 630.570.2600.