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Poll: Where should Alexandria prioritize its American Rescue Plan Act funds?

This Saturday, the Alexandria City Council will vote on where it should allocate the first installment of its $59.6 million federal funding package.

Nine items round out the list of “Tier 1” priorities and nine additional items are listed as “Tier 2” priorities. All of these are considered projects and programs that will have the most immediate impact, are considered highly important, and are “shovel-ready.”

The two tiers total at $28.7 million, meaning it’s likely all could be funded in the first round of American Rescue Plan Act funding, so the good news is while you’re being asked to choose: the city might not.

The Tier 1 priorities are:

  • Out of School Time Program (OSTP) Enhanced Enrichment Programming and Financial Assistance Opportunities: This program is designed to help social and emotional learning for students who may have missed that education during virtual schooling.
  • Rental Resiliency: This program is designed to support at-risk renters and mediate on payment issues.
  • Alexandria Community Access and Emergency Support Grant Program: This is funding to non-profit partners who provide support through grocery gift cards, transportation assistance, child care, rental assistance and more.
  • The Unified Early Childhood Workforce Stabilization Initiative: This program supports childcare providers and early childhood educators, as well as providing support for children to allow parents to go back to work.
  • LGBTQ & BIPOC Equity Project: Increases access to and awareness of services for LGBTQ and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, groups that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • Channel and Floodway Maintenance: Funding for additional maintenance work on stream channels, like Four Mile Run and Holmes Run.
  • New Business Support Programs: This offers business counseling and helps establish partnerships for local businesses.
  • Foundational Support for Commercial Business Districts: A fund that could create and — at least initially — sustain Business Improvement Districts. The idea has been controversial and was struck down in the past, largely due to the need for local businesses to supply the funding.
  • Alexandria Library Mobile Hotspot Lending Program: A free mobile hotspot program to provide Library members with better internet access to those without internet access at home.

A full list of American Rescue Plan Act funding is available on the City docket (item 10).

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To read my story, please see the attached letter.

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