Council discuss further details with ARP funding

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)- Altoona City Council went into further detail on how the American Rescue Plan funding could be spent at Monday’s council meeting.

The city will receive around $40 million from the government to assist with community needs. Monday’s meeting went through nearly four pages of the numerous recommendations given among two public meetings from the summer and personal requests.

Some of the requests made came with a dollar amount, while others did not. The recommendations that came with a dollar amount exceeded the total funding the city would receive. Councilman Jesse Ickes says that if all the other requests had a dollar amount, it could total over $100 million.

“I don’t know the dollar amount we’ve been asked for,” Ickes said. “But I’m sure north of $100 million that we have to eliminate projects based on need and what the community can afford to sustain.”

Recommendation topics included stormwater, cemetery upgrades, and recreation upgrades such as the community pool. Council did emphasize that all the ideas mentioned were necessary to the community, and they would need to discuss it further

“My goal is to try to leverage these dollars,” Ickes said. “This once in a lifetime opportunity of 40 million dollars to truly benefit the city of Altoona and economic impact for future generations to come.”

Council did make out an idea to have a soft amount of money set for something and work their way around it. That topic would end up being stormwater, which was placed at a soft amount of seven million dollars. Then, the team would prioritize from there. Councilmember Bruce Kelley says they look to have a general idea by the end of the year.

“We are looking and putting together a game plan as to what a timetable is going to be and prioritizing what should be in there,” Kelley said.

The city needs to make the final decision on the funding by 2024. The conversation will continue at further meetings throughout the year.

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