ROANOKE, Va. – There are more than $64 million on the table for the City of Roanoke through the American Rescue Plan and city leaders are deciding how to spend it with your help.
Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell said community input is critical to the decision.
“It’s a lot of money, we want to use it right, and the best way to figure out how to use it well is to hear from folks about their ideas and their suggestions,” Cowell said. “We’re trying to keep a pulse as best we can on the impact of COVID in the community, impact on individuals, households, businesses, neighborhoods all that type of thing.”
Wednesday night the city hosted the second of two virtual town halls, although no one showed up. Cowell said they’ve received plenty of other feedback though through focus groups and interviews.
Karen Pillis is a native Roanoker and member on the advisory panel that will help come up with the plan. The city was required to spend its CARES Act money quickly, but this round of cash allows for a more comprehensive look.
“It’s really important to me that we take this once in a lifetime opportunity of this recovery money and make it sustainable long term effects,” Pillis said. “long term impactful funding, versus short term just kind of bandages and bridge kind of money.”
The city is set to launch a community survey to continue gathering feedback. Cowell said support for business, tourism and youth are already rising to the top, especially for the most impacted.
“Certainly people of color have certainly suffered more through this pandemic than others so kind of putting it in that lens of equity over all of this,” Cowell said.
You can find out more information on the city’s webpage here.