Economic Recovery

Economic impacts from the pandemic on businesses, employers and employees are still being felt throughout the community. In order to have robust economic recovery, both individuals and businesses must be supported.


  • Small businesses, creatives and nonprofits have the resources they need to thrive
  • Safe and stable employment, current and future
  • Equitable and affordable childcare is accessible

Recovery Project



As of Mar. 31, 2024

Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Center

The Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Center (MBEC) provides support, training and resources for local businesses and entrepreneurs of all sizes, with a specific focus on providing support for historically underserved community members.

Funded in 2021 and launched in 2022, MBEC is a free, bilingual center that provides businesses and entrepreneurs easy access to service providers, resources, mentorship and training. It is a source of critical resources for small businesses, including many new and minority owned businesses. More information about this program.

This program has also been funded by ARPA dollars in the 2023-2024 budget.

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $721,103

     Allocated: $1,336,006

# of Client Appointments:


# of Businesses Launched with MBEC Support:


40% increase in appointments during 2023

2023 Program Highlights
  • Program fully staffed with support from three full-time Business Connectors.
  • 248 appointments held with more than 130 different businesses in 2023.
  • Grant program served more than two dozen businesses.
  • Improved customer service management tools to better serve MBEC clients.
Grant Program

In 2023, MBEC launched grants for fledgling businesses who make less than $250,000 in gross revenue a year. Grants can be used for bookkeeping support, legal support, workforce development, marketing and technical assistance. This grant program allows newer businesses, who typically do not qualify for other COVID impact funding, to obtain critical resources for stabilization and recovery. 

Expanded Technical Assistance for Small Businesses

This program provides enhanced and expanded technical assistance to businesses and individuals navigating the Development Review and Building Review processes with the City. Businesses, particularly smaller businesses with limited resources and those unfamiliar with review processes, require additional support to navigate, especially if changes or adjustments are required. This program helps businesses better position themselves to successfully navigate the Development Review and Building Review processes by getting the support they need for project management, site planning, surveying and design. Learn more about this program. 

This program has also been funded by ARPA dollars in the 2023-2024 budget.


     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $156,093

     Allocated: $354,511

# of Businesses Provided Assistance for:


Program Highlights
  • Improved customers service and positive relationships with businesses moving through Building Review and Development Review processes.
  • Creation of “Development Review Road Map” for restaurants navigating the Development Review Process. This resource is the first of its kind in Northern Colorado.

 I am overwhelmed by y’all’s generosity and proud to be the first parklet patio in Fort Collins.”

– Technical Assistance Grant Recipient

“Thank you for making my dream come true!”

– Technical Assistance Grant Recipient

Advancing Accessible Permitting

This program assists with the cost of permitted work in mobile home parks, affordable housing units and rental units within the City. Grants are provide to eligible projects that require a building permit, including:

  • Upgrades to electrical wiring/outlets.
  • Upgrades to water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners.
  • Installation and replacement of decks, stairs, ramps and/or handrails.
  • Roof repair or replacement.
  • Installation of energy efficient windows.

Originally, APRA funds for this program were going to be used to purchase new software to manage online permitting. However, due to City-wide efforts to improve digital accessibility and customer experience, staff decided to pivot these funds to a grant program modeled on the successful Technical Assistance grant program and Mobile Home Park Code Compliance grant program.

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $744

     Allocated: $158,000

Coming Soon

Land Use Code Update

Funding for code changes, professional services, consulting and public engagement efforts related to the City’s Land Use Code.  In 2023, funds supported additional public engagement efforts, allowing additional community members to share feedback about code changes. More information about Land Use Code Updates

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $85,640

     Allocated: $670,000

2023 Program Highlights:

  • Spanish interpretation at multiple community conversations and public engagement events, allowing Spanish speaking community members to participate in critical conversations about land use code updates.
  • 14 walking tours held in collaboration with community members to explore potential impacts of the updated Land Use Code. Approximately 160 community members attended these events.  
Capital Project Business Liaison

City construction projects near local businesses are especially impactful on sales and success as businesses continue to experience post-pandemic economic disruption. What would have been a minor to medium impact on the businesses now becomes a major disruption on the heels of their pandemic recovery.

The Capital Project Business Liaison program provides support to businesses affected by City construction projects, ensuring they have the information, resources and support they need throughout the project. Creating this position and funding support for impacted businesses allows them to sustain themselves during disruptions and build long-term resilience. It also provides the opportunity to build relationships between the business community and City organization. This program also provides grants to businesses through the Capital Project Assistance Grant Program. This program provides grants to businesses impacted by construction projects delayed due to COVID, including businesses near the recently renovated Linden Steet.

Beginning in 2023, staffing costs for the Liaison are now covered by General Funds.

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $240,448

     Allocated: $275,000

Grants Awarded to Businesses Impacted by Construction:


Capital Project Business Liaison has engaged with 500+ businesses

For Fort Collins

The For Fort Collins campaign and website provide support to businesses impacted by the pandemic, connecting them to resources and promoting “shop local” messaging to encourage community members to support local businesses. The program engages with a diverse group of businesses and highlights the vibrant business community in the city.

Visit the For Fort Collins website.

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $141,813

     Allocated: $190,000

Total # of Pageviews of For Fort Collins Website:


Nearly 8,000 new visitors in 2023

2023 Program Highlights
  • Launch of digital storytelling guide.
  • Expansion of seasonal Shop Local Pledge to include physical marketing materials.
Childcare System Support

Childcare systems, already strained locally, were strained even more by the pandemic, and continued to be so in 2023. By providing resources to community partners who work in the childcare space, the City can increase access to affordable, reliable childcare locally. This not only provides needed support for children but increases equity and economic stability – especially for women, who often bear the responsibility of caregiving.

In 2023, six different organizations were provided funding. Funded programs include support for childcare scholarships, workforce training and short-term respite care for children with disabilities.

This program has also been funded by ARPA dollars in the 2023-2024 budget.

     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $629,237

      Allocated: $1,170,078*

*Budget for this program increased after additional funding transferred from the Learning Loss program.

# of Children Served by these Programs:


2023 Program Highlights
  • 88 school-year scholarships provided for Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County Harmony Club youth.
  • Bonuses for Respite Care staff increased staff retention and helped ensure adequate staffing levels to cover demand for care services.
  • Support for creation of CARE Housing Community Building at Heartside Hill development, which will include a childcare facility.
  • Early Childhood Council (ECE) of Larimer County – pilot program to support ECE workforce training and retention.
  • Continued support of a behavioral health professional position to support City Recreation childcare programs.
Childcare Space Modifications at Northside Aztlan Community Center

Funding to upgrade childcare spaces at the Northside Aztlan Community Center, which will allow additional children to be served through onsite youth programs. Due to increased construction costs, General Fund dollars and Recreation Reserves were used in addition to ARPA funds to cover upgrades.


     In Progress

     Spent to Date: $421,932

      Allocated: $421,932

  • Indoor construction is complete.
  • Outdoor construction in progress.
  • Space upgrades will allow an estimated 240 additional youth to be supported during summer childcare programs.

Closed Projects

Learning Loss Mitigation

Students of all ages experienced learning loss and developmental setbacks due to the pandemic and these setbacks still linger. There are many local programs working to address these setbacks and support students’ ability to make up for losses and thrive. To support this critical effort, the City funded the Learning Loss Mitigation Grant program, which provides grant funds to local partners working in this space.  In 2022, eight different organizations received grant funding and several grant projects continued into 2023.


     Spent to Date: $367,317

     Allocated: $376,045*

*Spending for this program was lower than initially budgeted. Remaining funds transferred to Childcare System Support.

# of Students Served by these Programs:


Program Highlights
  • Establishment of a Learning Hub program in local high schools, which provides tutoring and case management to struggling students.
    • Learning Hub program students showed progress in attendance, class completion and course recovery.
  • 31 additional youths served through the Center for Family Outreach.
  • 91% of youth who participated in ChildSafe’s Child Abuse Treatment Program for K-12 students saw a reduction in trauma symptoms.
  • 16 additional students accessed reading and speech-language therapy to help reduce learning loss through the Children’s Speech and Reading Center.
  • Summer of Discovery Program through Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County served 662 Fort Collins youth.
Impact Story

Poudre Libraries purchased and outfitted an all-electric bookmobile to better reach a variety of underserved communities. The van, nicknamed ‘Evie’, was funded by the City, Larimer County and a local foundation is extremely popular. Since launched it has served nearly 10,000 individuals at 183 programs in diverse locations.

Something I’m very excited about is the way that the community, and especially kids, recognize Evie and library staff in different contexts around town. When we bring Evie to a school we hear the kids say, ‘hey! I saw you in my neighborhood this summer!’ or when we go to the Museum of Discovery, we hear folks says, ‘hey! I saw you at the Farmers’ Market!’ Being the public face of the library in contexts where folks don’t expect to see the library is a true joy.”

– Poudre Libraries Mobile Services Coordinator


Economic Health Strategic Plan

Funds covered the development of an updated Economic Health Strategic Plan. The previous Strategic Plan did not reflect changing priorities and business needs resulting from the pandemic. Having an updated plan means the Economic Health Office (EHO) is better positioned to support businesses and the local economy in a post-pandemic world.

More information about the Economic Health Office.



     Spent to Date: $99,888

     Allocated: $100,000

Plan adopted by City Council in fall of 2023

Small Business Grants

The Economic Health Office deployed two rounds of grant funding to support businesses struggling to stabilize from the pandemic. Grants were awarded to a wide variety of businesses including food service, health and wellness, retail, artists and manufacturing. By providing grant support to small businesses, they were able to make adjustments to stabilize, financially recover and build resilience.

Specific uses for the grants include:

  • Hiring experts to increase businesses’ web presence and marketing abilities.
  • Purchasing specialized manufacturing tools and training to produce products locally and avoid supply chain issues.
  • Train and/or hire employees to meet demand.
  • Reward existing employees (bonuses, raises, etc.) to increase retention.
  • Relaunching a mentorship program to increase female representation in the clean energy sector by matching women with workplace opportunities.

     Spent to Date: $1,049,763

     Allocated: $1,060,000

# of Small Business Grants Awarded:



These funds were used to get a better handle on the accounting side of the business…using a higher skilled, local accounting firm helped us find some financial holes that I was able to address and make the business stronger.”

– Small Business Grant Recipient

[With this funding] I was able to keep my business open, purchase things that we needed to stay open and continue to grow the business.”

– Small Business Grant Recipient

Non-ARPA Projects

In addition to the many ARPA-funded programs that relate to the Recovery Theme of Economic Recovery, there are many other projects and programs supported by the City through non-ARPA funding that relate to the theme.

About Recovery Dashboard

This dashboard is a snapshot of the Fort Collins community’s progress in achieving recovery as laid out in the Resilient Recovery Plan and includes projects funded by the City’s $28.1 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).

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  • Status: Defines if the project is complete, in progress or no started. Please note many projects in progress may not have spent funds but are in the planning and launching phases.
  • Spent to Date: Amount of funding spent on the project thus far.
  • Allocated: Amount of ARPA SLFRF dollars budgeted for a particular project.
  • Metric: Piece of data that demonstrates the outcome and impact of a project.


  • ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act, federal act passed in March 2021, established $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief funding. The City received $28.1M of ARPA funds in 2021.
  • ARPA Funds: ARPA Funds or American Rescue Plan Act Funds refers to the funds the City of Fort Collins has received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. In the majority of cases, ARPA Funds is used as shorthand to refer to the $28.1 million SLFRF received by the City
  • SLFRF: State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). $360B was allocated via SLFRF to state and local governments to assist with recovery. The City of Fort Collins received $28.1 million SLFRF funds for pandemic response and recovery.

Share Feedback

Do you have questions about the City’s Resilient Recovery Plan or the spending of ARPA funds? Have feedback about this dashboard or programs? Reach out to [email protected].