Case Studies

American Rescue Plan in Action: Waynesville Quickly, Effectively Targets Biggest Needs

Waynesville, NC
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Only a year after receiving its first tranche of American Rescue Plan funds, Waynesville has invested nearly all of it — and the impact is already being felt.

Town of Waynesville

Funds Received: $3.23 million
Population: 9,869


Government services and equipment

  • Law enforcement dispatch center upgrade – $124,870
  • Police department vehicles – $250,000
  • Fire service vehicles – $82,250
  • Tractor with snow removal equipment – $35,000
  • Column lifts for garage – $40,000
  • F350 for garage – $62,000
  • Small excavator – $30,000
  • Garbage and recycling upgrades – $310,141

Public infrastructure, non-water

  • Greenways for bridge – $265,911

Public infrastructure, water and sewer

  • Storm project, Kentucky Avenue – $90,000
  • Water project, Pigeon Street – $398,500
  • I&I mitigation – $150,000
  • I&I and manholes – $240,000
  • Water plant upgrades – $300,000
  • Sewer slip lining – $300,000

Community Assistance

  • Homeless assistance – $70,000

Future Capital – $483,238.78



  • Utilize previously created Capital Improvement Plan to efficiently and effectively target projects
  • Support ongoing investments into water and sewer utility
  • Address staffing concerns to improve ability of local government to deliver services

Waynesville’s American Rescue Plan story is a case in solid, foundational government administration. Their strategy and planning efforts were firmly in place well before ARP monies became available, making it so that the additional funds could be quickly put towards established needs and strategic efforts. Not even one year after receiving their first tranche of funds, Waynesville has invested nearly all of the appropriation into the community.

“It’s being used, and it’s already making a difference,” said Town Manager Rob Hites.

Waynesville’s strategy towards the American Rescue Plan is both far-reaching and targeted, said Hites. The town’s investments touch several areas of town, including public safety, homelessness, sanitation and recycling, parks and greenways, town staffing and most notably, infrastructure. These projects were not chosen at random. Rather, they’re part of a strategic effort by the town to address their most pressing needs and make best use of every ARP dollar received.

At the foundation of their efforts is the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, which lays out the town’s needs and direction over the next five years. It was established prior to the passage of the American Rescue Plan. And once that additional financial support became available, it served as a roadmap for Waynesville on how to proceed.

“We recognized that this is a windfall,” Hites said, speaking of the strategy pursued by Waynesville’s Mayor and Board of Alderman. “With our plan, we were able to see clearly what needed funding.”

Two priorities rose above all others: water infrastructure and government service delivery. Waynesville is presently in the midst of a $25 million water and sewer project, and while the town’s $3.2 million ARP allocation cannot cover the entire investment, it will make headway towards some of that project’s most pressing concerns. And towards the issue of service delivery, Waynesville, like many other local governments around the state and country, has faced challenges in recruiting and retaining employees. To address that concern, the town provided salary increases. Only a short time into that investment, the payoff has already become clear.

“We’re so much more competitive in hiring staff. There’s still room to go, but where we used to have eight police officer vacancies, now we have two. It makes a difference for the community.”

Other success stories include:

  • Recycling investment: In using ARP funds to upgrade the town’s recycling bins, Waynesville has increased its recycling rate by 65 percent, according to Hites. The upgrades additionally provide for a safer work environment for the sanitation employees.
  • Greenway bridge: Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Waynesville is one of western North Carolina’s beloved tourist destinations. It’s a core element of the local economy. The town furthered its attractiveness to tourists and residents alike by investing in the construction of a bridge that connects segments of its public greenways.
  • Future flexibility: Despite the array of investment categories pursued by Waynesville, the town was still able to save almost $500,000 in ARP funds for future use.



Preparation: The American Rescue Plan monies did not catch Waynesville by surprise. Rather, with a Capital Improvement Plan already in place, town leadership was able to quickly and efficiently invest in the most pressing areas of need.

Expediency: Waynesville, just over a year after the passage of ARP and less than a year after first receiving funds, is already making a difference in the community, especially as it relates to one of its biggest concerns: staffing. The town’s upgraded recycling program also serves as an example of the already-achieved impact, as Waynesville’s recycling rates have jumped nearly 65 percent since its ARP investment.


August 18, 2022