Projects will enable construction of new dining facility for Camp Ripley training center and increase access to affordable child care 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) federal budget for local projects benefiting Brainerd and Little Falls. These projects will support the construction of a new dining facility at the Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley training facility and increase access to affordable child care. 

“From facility improvements at a key National Guard training center to expanding access to affordable child care, these projects will help address issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure these funding commitments, and I know that these resources will make a real difference for Brainerd, Little Falls and the surrounding areas,” said Klobuchar. 

“Supporting our National Guard, investing in the development of young children, and increasing accessing to child care are always worthwhile investments,” said Smith. “I’m proud of the work we did with local leaders to bring federal dollars to this community, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects have on people’s lives.” 

Funding secured by Klobuchar and Smith will help further the following priorities:

  • $3 million to help the Minnesota National Guard construct a dining facility (DFAC), including improvements to utilities, emergency response services and other facility infrastructure at Camp Ripley.
  • $600,000 for the Brainerd Family YMCA to purchase a vacant building and create a child care center that will serve an additional 74 infants and toddlers, helping meet the community’s child care needs. 
  • $14,000 to support Morrison County United Way’s Imagination Library and Tools for School child literacy program. 

“The Brainerd Family YMCA is honored to receive this support for our YMCA Child Care Supply Solutions project which will help create the space to provide quality and affordable day care for up to 74 working families in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The Y, and many local partners, have worked together to identify the gap, and most importantly, to create the supply to meet the need. All kids need a safe place to learn, grow and thrive, and this project will help make that happen for many more kids in our own neighborhood,” said Brainerd Family YMCA CEO Shane Riffle.

“We are so thankful for the work of Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar. This funding opens so many doors for Morrison County United Way. Our small organization is trying to do big things for our service area of Morrison and parts of Todd County. Our children are our top priority however this funding will not only affect our youth programs such as Imagination Library and Tools for School, it will also impact the entire community. Knowing that we have the support of our Senators, in addition to our strong donor support, makes it clear that differences can be made when we live united!” said Morrison County United Way Executive Director Meghann Boser.

Klobuchar and Smith have been actively involved in securing this federal funding for projects benefiting communities across the state through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). During the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across the state.

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.