More money, more options: Advisory Panel discusses Roanoke’s ARPA funds

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Star City Strong Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Panel held its third meeting Wednesday night at Patrick Henry High School to discuss the expenditure of $64.5 million in funds received by the city through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Those funds are planned to be released to the city over the next two years.

The meeting, streamed live on the city’s Facebook page (see above), was initiated for the panel to narrow down the best responses from the survey that went out to residents asking them what the money should be spent on to improve the city.

City representatives had mentioned they want to use the funds on something truly impactful for community members.

The survey asked residents the same two questions given to the members of the advisory panel:

1. What are three things the city should focus on?

2. If they had a million dollars what would they do?

Panelists were given the raw results from the survey, over 200 of them.

Officials say Wednesday’s goal is to narrow down 14-16 focus areas from all the ideas generated, and later decide what percentage of money should go toward each objective.

After that, there will be a public hearing to test what the community thinks of their ideas.

An additional meeting would be held for members to take the public’s thoughts into consideration before finalizing those ideas and eventually presenting them to the city council.

That targeted city council meeting is planned for late September.

Some of the categories included things like economic development and small business, public safety and curbing gun violence, a stimulus for all citizens, technology, and solutions to housing and homelessness.

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