The City of Roanoke will receive $64.5 million in Federal assistance through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds are to be used to assist the community in its response to and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, the Act states:
Funds are meant to focus on long-term recovery through support in five areas:
- Supporting public health expenditures
- Addressing negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
- Replacing lost public sector revenue
- Providing premium pay for essential workers
- Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure
The City Council formed the Star City Strong Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Panel to assist the Council in determining the best use of the funds. The Advisory Panel has been meeting through the month of August and has drafted a preliminary set of recommendations, which include investing in:
- Workforce/Skills development initiatives
- Enhanced mobility – transit shelters, sidewalks, demonstration transit route expansions
- Violence interruption interventions
- Leadership development initiatives in the NW and SE portions of Roanoke
- Support of expansion/enhancement of the local food system
- Establishment of a Community Hub in NW Roanoke – possibly anchored by a grocery store
- Expansion of affordable/safe housing
- Redevelopment of one of the City’s recreation centers
- Establishment of a Community Hub in Gainsboro – possibly anchored by job/entrepreneur training and healthcare initiatives
- Creation of a new regional outdoor recreation amenity
- Complete next phase of River’s Edge North Sports Complex
The Panel is seeking the community’s input on these preliminary priorities, as well as soliciting additional ideas that will assist in the community’s recovery and resiliency. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 30, beginning at 6 p.m. in Berglund Hall at Berglund Center, 710 Williamson Rd. NE, in the City of Roanoke.
Those unable to attend the public hearing may provide their input via email at angela.o’[email protected] or by phone at 540-853-2333 by 5 p.m. on Aug. 30. The public hearing will be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page.
It is anticipated that the Advisory Panel will conclude their work in September, presenting their recommendations to the City Council at the Sept. 20 Council meeting.