In a move to enhance public health and safety, the Folsom City Council approved Resolution No. 11195, allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the County of Sacramento for the replacement and upgrade of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at the Folsom Community Center and the Folsom Senior and Arts Center Tuesday night.

The ARPA was enacted in March of 2011 to provide support to state, local, and tribal governments to address the impact of COVID-19 on communities, residents, and businesses. At the time, Sacramento County District 4 Supervisor Sue Frost allocated ARPA funds for impactful projects within Folsom. Following several discussions, it was decided that directing such funds towards enhancing the HVAC system at the Folsom Senior and Arts Center would significantly mitigate the effects of COVID-19 within the vulnerable population.

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The County of Sacramento extended its partnership with the Folsom Parks & Recreation Department to explore additional projects that would qualify for ARPA funding. Subsequently, the city requested funding ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million to replace the HVAC system at the Folsom Community Center, addressing COVID-19 concerns among attendees, including those at Fun Factory Preschool, community groups, businesses, organizations, and individuals who rent the facility.

The aging HVAC systems at both centers, dating back to their original construction in 1994, are in dire need of repair, according to the staff report presented by City of Folsom Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Gonzales Tuesday night. A a furnace blower motor catching fire in 2023 underscored the urgency of the situation, especially with an average of 1,500 seniors served monthly, many highly susceptible to COVID-19, according to the report.  Similarly, the age and condition of two out of six units at the Community Center has led to increased service calls for the remaining units over the past two years. Given the Community Center’s status as a heavily utilized facility catering to a diverse population and housing Fun Factory Preschool, addressing these HVAC concerns is imperative.

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The approved replacements for these HVAC systems promise improved efficiency and offer significant benefits in filtering airborne contaminants, including viruses. These upgrades align closely with the objectives of ARPA in combating the spread of COVID-19, emphasizing their importance in safeguarding public health.

With the City Council’s approval, revenue estimates and appropriations in the General Fund will be increased by $1.2 million for the HVAC projects. The entire allocation must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and fully spent by December 31, 2026.

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Megan Hoffman-Davis
Author: Megan Hoffman-Davis

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