ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — The city of Altoona will hold a public meeting on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) July 20 at the Altoona High School Auditorium. The city will receive 19.6 million dollars in the first year of funding in American Rescue Plan. Then, they will receive another 19.6 million dollars in May 2022.
This meeting is a “listening session” because officials want to hear public opinion about the funding. The meeting with the city giving a presentation about the American Rescue Plan Act and provide a brief overview. Then, they will provide examples of what issues could work with the funding and examples.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will focus on providing residents with information on guidelines and requirements set forth by the federal government for Altoona’s spending of American Rescue Plan funds. There will also be a segment of the meeting where the public will provide recommendations on ARP spending.
Altoona City Manager Omar Strohm says that some potential projects for the future include stormwater upgrades, broadband, and reconstructions within the labor force.
“We’re not coming with a complete list to say,” Strohm said. “This is what we’re going to do. What are your thoughts?’ The idea is that these projects are under consideration, ‘What does the public think about that?”
According to the White House, the American Rescue Plan has devoted $1 trillion toward economic recovery in the United States. This includes $360 billion in emergency funding for rare, local, territorial and tribal governments.
Community Leaders are also interested in seeing what the city plans to do with the funding. Blair County Chamber of Commerce President Joe Hurd hopes that the city follows through with the residents’ wants and needs that have been mentioned before.
“For many years, people have had expectations and needs and wants, and there’s never been any money to deal with those,” Hurd said. “Now they have some money, and the challenge becomes who gets funded? What programs are the high-priority ones? Which programs can be put off or redirected towards other sources of income.”
According to Strohm, funds must be obtained by 2024. Then, projects should be completed by 2026. The Altoona High School Auditorium is located at 1404 6th Avenue.
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