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Roanoke looks for lasting impact from $64 million in ARPA funds

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Communities like Roanoke have paid a heavy price during the pandemic. Now, they are considering how to spend millions of dollars of federal recovery funds.

The city of Roanoke expects to receive more than $60 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding over the next two years.

“This is a one-time opportunity that we may never get again,” said Roanoke City Council Member Bill Bestpitch.

With half the money already in hand and the rest expected next June, the city is beginning to consider how best to use those funds.

Few people spoke during a procedural hearing Wednesday afternoon, but the city plans to solicit ideas from the public and form a task force that will deliver recommendations to City Council in September.

Council members say they want to make sure the money has a lasting impact.

“What we want to do is make investments that are going to transform our community, in terms of our economy, in terms of jobs, in terms of the future of our city,” Bestpitch said, “not just spend this on something that’s a good program, but isn’t really going to help us change going forward.”

The city isn’t required to spend ARPA money as quickly as the CARES Act funding, so city leaders will have a couple years to expend the money.

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