On Tuesday, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $3.2 Million to support economic and community resiliency, and offset COVID-19 related economic hardships and disruptions to local businesses and nonprofits.
Using State of California Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) monies, the Board allocated $1.5 Million for “Economic & Community Resiliency” grants, $1 Million to expand broadband connections, and the remaining $700,000 was split between the Nevada County Relief Fund, the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and to the police departments of Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Truckee.
“The creative solutions presented by County staff and community leaders highlight the best of Nevada County coming together to support the entire community, from young distance learners to seasoned small business owners,” said Board Chair Heidi Hall.
Board Vice-Chair Dan Miller concurred, adding, “The collaboration we saw today is all about resilience. Nevada County is moving forward together and that is the best way to get through the challenges we face. It has been a rough year, but I’m very proud of our community today.”
$1.5 Million in Economic & Community Resiliency Grants
The “Economic & Community Resiliency Grants” program funded businesses, nonprofits, and local jurisdictions with a major economic and social impact on the community and are critical to maintaining the County’s economic and cultural infrastructure. Twenty-six applications representing $4.7 Million in requests vied for these funds. Grant awardees included:
- Town of Truckee ($400,000) to fund an outdoor “Winter Wonderland” space to support downtown Truckee businesses by creating a festive outdoor pedestrian shopping and dining experience with covered and heated outdoor spaces this winter;
- Center for the Arts ($400,000) to fund operating expenses until it can safely produce live events for community audiences, and produce new broadcast events, education and outreach programs;
- Miners Foundry ($290,000) to fund operating expenses until it can safely produce live cultural and community events, and develop new revenue streams from its new café and patio bar with live outdoor events;
- Sierra Theaters ($150,000) to fund operating expenses needed to retain the Del Oro Theatre and reopen safely;
- Sierra Community House ($100,000) to fund necessary safety-net services (food and housing) to vulnerable populations;
- The Food Bank of Nevada County ($100,000) to fund increased demand for necessary food delivery services to vulnerable populations; and
- South Yuba River Citizens League ($60,000) to fund the installation of two vault toilets at Purdon Crossing to address sanitation concerns on the South Yuba River due to increased visitation resulting from limited recreational opportunities caused by COVID-19.
Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout commended the Board for its’ decision. “I want to let you know how proud I am of the County for spending the CARES dollars in the way you chose to do it. I am proud of the way you supported Grass Valley and the Center for the Arts. Thank you for all that you are doing for the community.”
$1 Million in Community Broadband Accessibility
Race Communications received $1 Million to connect at least 500 households with above ground fiber in the Peardale community. County staff partnered with the Sierra Business Council to select Race out of a very competitive applicant pool. Race’s proposal was deemed “shovel ready,” offered the most reasonable cost per connection, and most importantly, is expected to complete the project by the CARES Act deadline of December 30, 2020. As an added benefit, Race intends to invest an additional $1 Million to serve 130 more households in the La Barr Meadows Area in late 2021.
“This project is ready to go,” said Information and General Services Director Steve Monaghan. “Connecting an additional 500 households by the end of the year will really have a positive impact for our residents. Race hires local subcontractors, which will also help working families get through this economic downturn.”
New Youth Hub coming to the Nevada County Fairgrounds
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevada County Fairgrounds has been hit hard due to the cancellation of the County Fair and other events. The County awarded $450,000, including $200,000 in CRF monies to create a Youth Hub focused on distance learning and COVID-19 safe social activities, and provides community access to the grounds for limited recreational use.
As most schools within Nevada County are either continuing with a distance learning model or a hybrid model (partially distance learning and partially in-school) for the 20/21 school year, adequate access to the internet remains a key need within the community, as not all families have such access. In addition, there are youth groups in the county which are impacted by COVID-19 and need safe and accessible space to provide programs.
“This partnership between the schools, the Friendship Club/NEO, the County of Nevada, and the Fairgrounds will provide much needed support for families and students struggling with reliable internet and a safe place to go,” said Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay.
As part of this agreement, the Fairgrounds will also open the grounds for public recreational uses, such as walking or biking during the week (M-F). This will offer residents and families another way to be outside and enjoy physical activity in this stressful time of COVID-19.
“This is an innovative and exciting project that will support learning and provide a safe and central location for families and students to access high speed internet,” said Patrick Eidman, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “The Fairgrounds Board and staff are so pleased that this agreement with the County will allow us to serve as a hub for distance learning and youth enrichment activities and programming and allows us to reopen our beautiful Fairgrounds for the public to walk and bike.”
$250,000 to the Nevada County Relief Fund for Round 3
The Board’s allocation of $250,000 in CRF monies funded the Nevada County Relief Fund’s third round of funding to small businesses and nonprofits that continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 26 small businesses and 10 safety-net nonprofits benefited from the CRF. The Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation received $25,000 for safety net nonprofits on the eastern side of the County.
“We immediately understood that these funds should be allocated to bolster our economy by helping the hard hit downtown business districts and nonprofit safety-net organizations. In addition, we were able to expand critically needed broadband access so our residents can work and study from home. Funds augmented the Nevada County Relief Fund, which has done a great job getting private and public dollars where they are needed most,” said County CEO Alison Lehman. “We are grateful to all the community members who lent their time, insight, and ideas to the process.”