Little Rock -- The following information was released by Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln:
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today is highlighting how Recovery Act dollars are being put to work across the state, making a real difference in the lives of Arkansans. The Recovery Act was signed into law one year ago, and the resources it has provided have saved jobs in teaching and law enforcement, provided job retraining dollars, helped stabilize state and local budgets, and spurred job-creating infrastructure improvement projects.
"We have worked hard to pull this country out of an economic ditch, and while we have a long way to go, the Recovery Act has helped start us down a path of future growth," Lincoln said. "Because of the Recovery Act, we have been able to sustain jobs at schools and hospitals that would have otherwise been lost. We have provided resources to state and local governments that have staved off more drastic cuts in essential services, and we have funded critical transportation projects that have created construction jobs and laid the foundation for continued economic growth. Thanks to the Recovery Act, small businesses are able to receive the capital they need, which has helped these businesses keep employees on the payroll.
This morning, Lincoln visited the Arkansas School for the Deaf, which has successfully implemented the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program and was recently able to upgrade kitchen equipment with a $42,227 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act USDA Equipment Assistant Grant. In addition to meeting with pre-kindergarten students, Lincoln toured the cafeteria and discussed ways to improve the fruit and vegetable program as she leads the Senate effort to reauthorize child nutrition programs in the coming weeks.
This afternoon, Lincoln will tour the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Building Expansion Project at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. UAMS has been awarded nearly $10.5 million through the Recovery Act to support construction of a 12-story expansion tower of Arkansas's only academic cancer research center. The $10,458,675 grant will fund completion of the 9th and 11th floors in the institute's second tower, resulting in an additional 33,660 net square feet of research space. The project is expected to create 123 construction-related jobs and 87 research-related positions. Expected completion of the floors is mid-2011.
Lincoln will end the day at the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County, which received $42,500 in Recovery Act funds to hire two full-time professionals, cover supplies and operating costs, and implement new programming. The organization located in Benton served 3,812 kids in 2009.
"Many Arkansans are still struggling to find employment and recover a sense of financial security, and my number one goal remains putting those people back to work," Lincoln said. "We always knew that full economic recovery could not happen overnight, but a year after the Recovery Act became law, I am pleased to be able to see new equipment at the Arkansas School for the Deaf, and an expansion project at UAMS and new programming at the Boys and Girls Club in Benton. These are just a few examples of ways the Recovery Act is truly improving the lives of Arkansans."
Arkansans agree with Lincoln.
"Arkansas School for the Deaf has installed a state-of-the-art serving line and salad bar, thanks to ARRA USDA Equipment Assistance Grant Funds," said Elizabeth Butler, Arkansas School for the Deaf School Nutrition Director. "Retiring the previous, decades-old serving line allows students to be offered a wider variety of nutritious hot and cold foods maintained at the proper temperature. The new salad bar offers our students a generous array of fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch and dinner daily. Future use of the salad bar will include a fresh fruit bar during breakfast. The clear winners in this are our students, who really appreciate their 'new cafeteria.'"
"I cannot over emphasize the importance of the $23.5 million that UAMS has received so far in federal stimulus funds as a vital link in improving the health of Arkansans, both now and in future generations," said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn. "For example, $10.5 million of that total is going to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute to finish out two research floors with laboratories that will give our scientists the tools they need to develop new innovative therapies and discover the underlying causes of cancer. That grant alone will create about 123 construction jobs in the short term and 87 sustainable research-related positions in the long term. As we continue to see unemployment rates rise, jobs such as these are vitally important to the men and women of Arkansas who will fill these positions and be able to provide security for their families."
"In these tough times, the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County is needed, NOW MORE THAN EVER, to support entire families here in our community," said Benton Mayor Rick Holland. "Thanks to Senator Lincoln and her dedication to the Boys and Girls Club, the Club can continue to positively impact our community."
"Thanks to Senator Lincoln's support on the American Recovery and Investment Act, parents can still rely on the Boys and Girls Club to ensure their children are in a safe, positive and affordable environment," said State Senator Shane Broadway. "For over 40 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County has effectively guided our area youth to reach their fullest potential in life."
"Growing up in today's world isn't easy for any child, but for many kids in our community, it is tougher than you may think," said Boys and Girls Club of Saline County Board President Brad Glover. "At the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County, we dream of a community where every child is given the opportunity to succeed in life and experience a brighter future. Due to Senator Lincoln's leadership and support on the ARRA Act of 2009 we can continue to provide the high quality services and programs to the children we serve."