VANDERBURGH COUNTY. Ind. (WEHT)- After a strong and challenging fiscal year, Vanderburgh County Commissioners are reflecting on accomplishments. Dozens of community leaders joined Evansville Rotary Club members at Old National Events Plaza for the 2022 State of the County panel.

Cheryl Musgrave, the commissioner board president, and Ben Shoulders and Justin Elpers, both commissioners, say 2022 was a team effort.

“We could not do the things that we do without the team,” says Shoulders.

Between 2022 and now, Vanderburgh County Commissioners say they have made headway on several projects with money from the American Rescue Plan Act, including one that would give all county resident internet access. County commissioners and AT&T began a $40 million broadband project in 2021. After seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students and the workforce, commissioners decided to invest $9.9 million in ARPA funds into broadband.

“We heard from people in really expensive homes and custom homes out in the county who could not get internet access. They were on the verge of selling their houses…in order to move somewhere so they could have internet access,” Musgrave says.

By November 13th, commissioners say nearly everyone in Vanderburgh County will have internet access. Commissioners say this, along with other projects like park improvements, will help keep people in the county. Musgrave says the Burdett Park Aquatic Center has attracted nearly 70,000 people each year since opening in October 2021.

The ARPA funds also went to help local nonprofits offset challenges caused by the pandemic. In a little over a year, over $3 million went to 31 non profits, which Ben Shoulders says was his highlight in the past 18 months.

“After we awarded that, we went around to meet with each one, presented the check with them and heard about how they are using the funds,” Shoulders says.

Despite all of the accomplishments, Shoulders says there are some challenges ahead. He says a lack of funding will make future road projects rocky.

“This is separate from ARPA funding. I am talking about finding for other projects and road repairs,” Shoulders says.