As its open-comment period draws to an end, the city of Lancaster is urging residents to weigh in online via its "Engage Lancaster" platform on how to spend $39.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
Since mid-September, residents have been invited online and in a number of public forums to pick their top 5 funding priorities. Options include "lead paint remediation," "rent & mortgage assistance and internet access & digital literacy; residents can also offer suggestions that are not in the list.
The top vote-getter online as of Friday is behavioral health support. Including in-person events, the top vote-getter has been affordable housing, the city says.
The Engage Lancaster platform will stop accepting public comments on ARPA after Saturday, Oct. 30. Residents wishing to make suggestions after that can contact the city or speak at a City Council meeting.
Signed into law in March, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act is the Biden administration's flagship Covid-19 recovery legislation. Allocations to local governments may be used for purposes including offsetting revenue losses, supporting public health and economic recovery, assisting households with Covid-19 recovery, and infrastructure investments including water, sewer and broadband.
This week, City Council voted to allocate $5 million in ARPA funds to affordable housing, and to spend just under $1 million of that on the purchase of a roughly one-acre site at 838 Marietta Ave. The city intends to transfer the property to HDC MidAtlantic for the purpose of developing a multi-family affordable housing project, tentatively estimated at 46 to 50 units.