Council approves $4 million of ARP funding for stormwater

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)- Tuesday’s city council meeting made progress towards determining how the American Rescue Plan funding will be spent. The council voted unanimously to approve a four million dollar earmark amount dedicated to stormwater management projects.

This is part of the 39.2 million funding the city will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act. Altoona’s Public Works Director, Nathan Kissell, says that the department determines that number based on various factors.

“It’s a combination of projects we feel is appropriate to explore into the future,” Kissell said. “It’s also projects that we have shovel-ready that we’ve been asking for already before the ARP money came out. Then, just a few projects are immediate. We have pipes failing, and we need to take care of right away.”

Kissell presented at Tuesday’s meeting the Public Works Annual Report. The presentation did list the 22 projects that are on the department’s agenda. From the four million, Kissell expects that it would fund roughly ten of them. However, this is not a final number.

“It all depends on inflation rate right on what’s happening because all this money is getting treated at the same time,” Kissell said.

The projects can also be categorized based on whether it’s an immediate project, shovel-ready, or in the design phase. Kissell predicts that they could start designing plans within the Pleasant Valley, Juniata, and Fairview sections of Altoona with the funding.

“We’ll have to have a design or model of those areas based upon stormwater rates,” Kissell said. “From those rates, it’ll determine if anything can make a difference in those areas.”

The immediate projects are projected to be done by the end of 2021. Those projects that are shovel-ready are set to begin in 2022. Then, those in the design phase are predicted to start in 2023 or 2024.

Although within the many projects at hand for the department, Kissell is asking the community to be patient as things could change.

“I would ask everyone just to be patient with everything in the investigation because we’re trying to get the most bang for your buck as the money is gifted to us,” Kissell said.

At this time, it is unknown whether the four million will increase over time. The next council session will be on Monday, October 25.

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