HomeMunicipalFinance Committee allocates federal ARPA funds for Public Park and Downtown Riverwalk...

Finance Committee allocates federal ARPA funds for Public Park and Downtown Riverwalk projects

On Tuesday, June 11, the Finance Committee, led by Mayor Paul Callaghan, allocated federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to two key projects.

The American Rescue Plan Act is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law on March 11, 2021. The legislation was designed to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, the City of Rochester received $6.1MM in funding. So far, $4.7MM in funds have been allocated to projects and initiatives with significant public benefits, including affordable housing, lead paint remediation, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, and a Community Outreach Facilitator position. The remaining 1.4MM must be allocated by December 31, 2024, and expended by December 31, 2026.

The former Nancy Loud School, currently fenced off and awaiting demolition, will be transformed into a public park with a $600,000 allocation, following overwhelming community support favoring the use. The public pool on the property will remain. The existing playground and park are expected to be replaced and enhanced for public use.

The Riverwalk Committee will receive an additional $500,000 to complete a Cocheco River scenic overlook off North Main Street. The project had previously been awarded $200,000 for design work. The committee unanimously approved the additional funding.

With $306,822 ARPA funds remaining, Mayor Callaghan proposed reserving these funds for housing projects, aligning with the city’s recent purchase of the former St. Elizabeth Seton School, which is intended for affordable housing development.

The allocation recommendations will now advance to the City Council for final approval at an upcoming meeting.

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