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City leaders ask for public’s help deciding hot to spend $64 million from American Rescue Plan

Roanoke, Virginia – City leaders are asking for your help in deciding how to spend $64 million from the American Rescue Plan.
Input of the community is crucial to the decision, according to Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell.
“It’s a lot of money, we want to use it right, and the best way to figure out how to use it well is to hear from folks about their ideas and their suggestions. We’re trying to keep a pulse as best we can on the impact of COVID in the community, impact on individuals, households, businesses, neighborhoods all that type of thing,” said Cowell.
The city held the second of two virtual town halls on Wednesday night, but no one showed up. Through focus groups and interviews, Cowell said they’ve received a lot of additional feedback.
A native Roanoke woman, Karen Pills, who’s also a member of the advisory council will help come up with the plan. The city was obligated to use the money under the CARES Act immediately, but this round of funding allows for a more comprehensive review.
“It’s really important to me that we take this once in a lifetime opportunity of this recovery money and make it sustainable long term effects. Long term impactful funding, versus short term just kind of bandages and bridge kind of money,” said Pillis.
To continue gathering feedback, the city will launch a community survey. Support for business, tourism, and youth, according to Cowell, is already rising to the top, especially among the most impacted.
“Certainly people of color have certainly suffered more through this pandemic than others so kind of putting it in that lens of equity over all of this,” said Cowell.
More information can be found here.

Viola Higgins

I’m a mother of 2 little angels that I continuously try to figure out and spend the other half figuring out how to be a great wife. Writing is my passion and I write regularly for the Virginian Tribune and several other national news outlets.

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