Mayor presents draft American Rescue Plan spending plan
At today’s informal meeting of Richmond City Council, the draft spending plan for roughly $155 million from the federal government was presented.
The draft plan incorporates the feedback of roughly 2,000 survey respondents and the unique insights of Richmond City Council members, who shared the core priorities and concerns of each of their districts.
The mayor called the plan, “a blueprint for building back better and stronger through strategic, intentional and equitable investments that deliver on the promise of a quality of life our residents want, need and deserve.”
The following are some highlights from the plan. Full plan details can be found at www.rva.gov/arp:
It includes $32 million to build back affordable and healthy homes. This includes $20 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, meeting the goal established in the Equity Agenda and supported by City Council four years ahead of schedule.
The plan proposes the creation of a $5 million Health Equity fund, managed by the Richmond City Health District through an MOU with the city. The fund would support ongoing COVID-19 response, maternal and infant health, food access, mental and behavioral health, and more.
Says Jackie Lawrence, Director of Health Equity for the Richmond City Health District, “"We know that an individual's and a family's access to food, mental health services, and preventative services has a massive impact on their health... we've seen this play out during the pandemic, but this is not unique COVID-19. A financial investment for public health services that is inclusive of those that address the social determinants of health will have long lasting benefits to our community."
$2 million is directed toward childcare and $78 million in parks and community centers, totaling $80 million invested in children and families, residents’ top priority in the first round of public engagement. The funded community centers include:
- TB Smith Community Center
- Southside Community Center
- Calhoun Center
- A new center on the current site of Lucks Field.
With funding in the plan, the community centers will become opportunity centers - neighborhood hubs that can provide residents with assistance and access to financial and housing assistance and benefits, senior services, food access, healthcare, wellness education, youth programming and workforce development and training.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Chris Frelke says of the investment, “This is the largest investment in Parks and Recreation in generations and a monumental movement to prioritize Richmond’s most often overlooked communities.”
The plan also includes $23.3 million in total to plan for and address climate and environmental challenges in the city, an $8.5 million investment in public safety, and $5.9 million in economic supports. For full details, visit www.rva.gov/arp.
Tomorrow, the city will launch the second phase of our engagement on the proposed plan, which will include both digital and in-person opportunities to provide feedback.
The mayor set a goal to approve the plan before the end of October, emphasizing the need to, “get to work and continue to improve the lives of our residents.”