Federal Earmarks Awarded for Local Projects

Federal Earmarks Awarded for Local Projects

   Culpepper Garden
 By Shirley Ruhe 

Culpepper Garden received $2.03 million in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that was signed into law on March 9 as part of an appropriations package just hours before a shutdown deadline. 

Marta Hill Gray, President of Culpepper Garden said she had been working with Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine’s offices since last February on this appropriations request. “Their staff came here and did a tour, and I showed them what we needed.” 

The Federal funding will help Culpepper Garden undergo a revitalization project that will make much needed updates to its Independent and Assisted Living wings. It includes a number of renovations to apartments, installation of elevators and walkways and more to improve the quality of living and accessibility for residents.

Gray says the garden pavilion will be in addition to the two pavilions currently in place and a continuation of the long term plan to expand the areas where the residents and guests can enjoy the grounds. It will join a walkway through an extensive daffodil display. The garden transformation began with the planting of 28,000 daffodils that were featured in the Inaugural Spring Garden walk with an additional 5,000 added later. Gray says the garden is one of her special projects to make things nicer for everyone and future plans include a koi pond, additional pavilions, picnic tables, and bird feeders.

Gray says, “We send our sincere thanks to Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner for advocating on our behalf to successfully secure this critical funding.” She adds, “This is the first time Culpepper Garden has received a special Federal appropriation, and it comes at a crucial time for so many of our residents struggling to afford the housing care they need.”

Low cost assisted living facilities are few and in high demand as the aging population continues to grow. Culpepper Garden is the only affordable housing community in Arlington serving financially vulnerable older adults. 

In addition to this Federal earmark for Culpepper Garden, U.S. Rep. Don Beyer announced that he had secured funding for 15 projects in Virginia’s 8th congressional districts including five in Arlington County. 

The rules adopted by the House of Representatives allowed each Representative to submit FY24 funding requests (earmarks) for up to 15 projects in their Congressional districts within a limited scope of federal accounts and direct funds to state and local government and select non-profits, and with each Member certifying that they and their family have no financial interest in any projects for which they request funding. 

The Arlington projects included $720,000 for Arlington Boulevard Trail South Side Improvements; $1,323,575 for Mount Vernon Trail North Improvements; $500,000 for Monroe Park Playground Replacement; $1,500,000 for Doorways SafeStart; and $1,342,704 for PathForward purchase of the Sibert House.

A Federal earmark is defined by the Office of Management and Budget as funds provided by Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction (in bill or report language) circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the Administration to control critical aspects of the funding allocation project. These have not been requested in the Administration’s budget. Members of Congress request specific projects in appropriations bills to benefit their congressional district or state.