Our latest story about the stimulus is about how much federal money is flowing to Bexar County, what kind of projects are being funded, and what will the lasting impact be?
Stimulus money is fixing headstones at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, building new playgrounds, painting buildings at Lackland AFB, paying for 50 new police officers and reshaping the San Antonio River.
It’s funding high-profile projects that will benefit future generations — and paying for obscure work that hardly will be noticed.
Sometimes, it feels like the biggest beneficiaries of the Recovery Act are companies that make the outlandishly sized checks for ribbon-cuttings, where politicians frequently take credit for stimulus projects.
But behind the photo ops are a large number of companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that were awarded 775 grants and contracts in Bexar County worth more than $850 million, according to spending reports released last week by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. Another $60 million in stimulus money is being loaned to local businesses.
We’ve been spending a few months examining the local impact of the Recovery Act — past stories are here and here. I’ve also been bookmarking useful resources through Diigo — feel free to check out my real-time list of handy websites.
For the latest story, we mostly relied on data you can download directly from Recovery.gov, the website of the Recovery Board. The data doesn’t have a “county” category, but you can match the zip code of each award with the zip codes of your county. If you’re simply interested in seeing what kind of stimulus projects are being funded in your county or neighborhood, the Recovery Board offers an interactive map that lets you drill down to the street level. Each stimulus project shows up as a dot — click on it to learn more details.