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LYNN – : Residents of Lynn had the opportunity to suggest possible uses for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money during a two-session workshop hosted by the Mayor’s Office Saturday at Briarcliff Lodge Adult Day Health Center.
The ARPA money is allocated for fiscal year 2024-25 and responds to the public health emergency of the coronavirus and its negative economic impacts.
“This gives us another look at where the city can make future investments based on service needs and demand,” said Nichol Figueiredo, CEO of Capital Strategic Solutions. “As for reporting, we will need to provide this information to the federal government to demonstrate that the money has been allocated proportionately.”
Figueiredo said that right now the city is in the bidding process, which means residents, agencies and businesses are submitting their projects. The submission process closes on May 31, but there will be another opportunity to submit projects.
At the same time, the city ensures that projects meet ARPA criteria. The next stage – the ministerial review – lasts until early June.
The city will then conduct a project selection survey in mid-June, allowing residents to provide input on how projects should be prioritized.
The city will then proceed with the selection of projects which will consider community feedback from the surveys that were conducted as part of the ARPA process. This phase will last from the end of June to the beginning of July.
“We will use community feedback to drive the project selection process and present a case to city council in July,” Figueiredo said.
Lynn is eligible to receive more than $75 million in direct ARPA funds, which will supplement ARPA funds obtained from the state. It will then be obliged to commit these funds until the end of 2024 and spend them until the end of 2026.
The funds are intended to be used for aid to households, as well as small businesses and non-profit organizations, and to help affected industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality. They cannot be used to deposit funds into a pension fund, debt and settlement payments, stabilization or matching funds for other federal grants.
As all those who came on Saturday to discuss or submit their projects could not estimate their costs, Jean Michael Fana, director of communication at the town hall, said residents didn’t have to know the exact cost of the project and the city was hiring consultants to help them.
“We don’t expect everyone in the community to be financial experts,” Fana said.
One group – the Flax Pond Association – said their proposal was to ensure the pond water was clean, there was no erosion and to maintain the appearance of the edges of the pond. ‘pond.
“We’re just looking to help around the pond area with erosion, water quality and removing some of the invasive plans, and just making sure the green spaces and parks around the area are maintained,” the organization said. President Megan Gonzalez.
Pathways Inc., which offers adult education funded by the U.S. Department of Education, including English language classes and GED/HiSet courses, wanted to use ARPA funds to provide an insurance stipend to part-time employees, according to commercial director Juana Perez.
Quendia Martinez, career counselor at Pathways, said there was also a very long list of students waiting for their English classes and citizenship classes, and they wanted to offer more classes and have a lab. computer science.
“We also want to create a fund to help students with their needs, like how to pay rent or other expenses,” Martinez said.
LEO Inc., the area’s community action agency that helps low-income individuals and families access resources to improve their stability and upward mobility, suggested renovating the offices at 156 Broad St. in a 15-classroom preschool for low-income children in Lynn. Lisa McFadden, LEO’s director of development, said the project would cost around $15 million.
“At the moment, it is a mixed-use administrative headquarters, and this project will consolidate classrooms from three buildings and add two additional preschool classrooms, which will open up 38 additional places for children from 3 to 5 years,” McFadden said.
ARPA was signed into law on March 11, 2021, and is intended to establish the Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF) to provide support to state, local and tribal governments in response to the pandemic. Projects can be submitted on paper, forms are available at the town hall. They can also be submitted online at https://lynnarpa.com.