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Roanoke News

Posted on: August 26, 2021

Advisory Panel Seeks Community Input Regarding Use of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

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.  If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact Angie O’Brien, Chief Strategy Officer, by Noon on Aug. 30 via email at angela.o’brien@roanokeva.gov or by phone at 540-853-2333 to discuss your accessibility needs.

Those unable to attend the public hearing may provide their input via email at angela.o’brien@roanokeva.gov 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.

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