(PUEBLO, Colo.) — On Tuesday, the Pueblo City Council passed multiple ordinances to award funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to three local museums as part of continued allocation of the $36.4 million received by the City of Pueblo. 

The funding approved for the three museums includes the Pueblo Heritage Museum, El Pueblo History Museum and the Pueblo Archeological and Historical Society, for a total of $20,000 to mitigate the loss of attendance of visitors during the pandemic.

“We are glad to be able to allocate these ARPA dollars to assist some of our local museums here in Pueblo which are such an important part of our tourism and local economy,” said Mayor of Pueblo Nick Gradisar. “We know museums endured financial hardship due to loss of revenue because of decreased attendance numbers, so this funding will assist with the recovery and help museums move forward from the pandemic.”

The Pueblo Heritage Museum received $10,000 in ARPA funding due to the museum’s closure in 2020 and the increase in incurred expenses while experiencing a loss of revenue. As a result of the pandemic, the museum’s admissions fell from 1,842 visitors in 2019 to only 587 visitors in 2020. This $10,00 award allows the museum to use the funding for salaries, general operating expenses, overhead of the building and compensation for staff.

El Pueblo History Museum received $5,000 to assist with maintenance of the building, utilities, communication costs and other overhead costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ARPA funding allocated to El Pueblo History Museum will allow the museum to continue to recover from the lack of attendance, fundraising dollars, rentals and other programming that generates revenue. 

The Pueblo Archeological and Historical Society (PAHS) received $5,000 to assist with relief from the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of revenue to the museum. PAHS is a founding member of what is known as the Pueblo Heritage Museum, and although PAHS sustained their membership throughout the pandemic, attendance at exhibits was down in 2020 due to the intermittent closures of the museum.

The City of Pueblo received $36.4 million in ARPA dollars, under the condition that the funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and expended by December 31, 2026.