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Charleston officials seek community input on American Rescue Plan funds

Neighbors can give their ideas in person or online
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Charleston leaders are asking for community input on how to distribute the city’s American Rescue Plan funds.

The American Rescue Plan allocated direct payments to county and local governments, and Charleston is set to get approximately $38 million.

“Make no mistake about it, this is the single largest federal investment that the city of Charleston has seen in a generation and will be at least another generation until we see that again,” Mayor Amy Goodwin said.

Goodwin said the city will get 50 percent of its funds, or around $19 million, in early May and the remaining money will be distributed during the next year. Any funds that are not used by the end of 2024 will go back to the federal government.

The city is still waiting on guidelines from the Treasury Department on what exactly the money can be used for, but wants to ensure it has plans to use every last dollar, Goodwin said. The guidelines that have been released allow for broad use of the funds including COVID-19 response, revenue loss and infrastructure improvements.

“A lot of the feedback that we have received already, and a lot of conversations that we’re having, are development of our riverfront, development of facilities on the West Side and the East End,” Goodwin said. “Sidewalks, transportation, hiking and biking trails, walking trails. There are lots of different areas.”

Goodwin said they want to invest the money instead of just spending it on small or short-term projects. They’re also looking at creating new parks, providing grants to small businesses and opening more health care opportunities.

Charleston’s American Rescue Plan Act Advisory Committee will hold four listening sessions to generate ideas on what can best help the community.

Listening sessions will take place:

  • April 27 - Kanawha City Community Center (3511 Venable Ave.)
  • April 29 - Roosevelt Neighborhood Center (502 Ruffner Ave.)
  • May 4 - George Washington High School (1522 Tennis Club Road)
  • May 6 - Ball Toyota (1905 Patrick Street Plaza).

All events take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ideas can also be submitted online at charlestonwv.gov/ARPFund or by text at 304-941-7512.

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