PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg City Council has decided on how to spend almost all the $9 million in American Rescue Plan Funds given to the city by the U.S. government.
The first installment of funds will be used for 12 projects across the city that can help improve Petersburg's aging infrastructure.
As part of the plan, $3.4 million would be spent to renovate the old Social Services building and move the Petersburg Police Department and Fire Department into the space.
"The police department has been working in separate buildings as a department for probably 30 years or more," Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian said. "Some of our units could potentially be moved in as early as this week, the end of the week."
Another $2.2 million would be spent to improve the city's storm drainage system.
"We know from the recent storms, where the significant flooding is, the money is targeted to the shovel-ready projects," Petersburg City Manager Stuart Turille said.
Around $1.4 million would be spent on turning the shuttered Southside Depot into a new Petersburg visitors' center.
"The Renovation of the depot will bring in an estimated 35,000 to 45,000 visitors from the battlefield to the downtown if we can bring battlefield visitors center to the location," Turille said.
"I think it’s amazing," Petersburg businessman Ray Ferguson said about the plan. “Petersburg needs some help but we’re going in the right direction."
Part of that direction is the renovation of the old Hotel Petersburg, according to Turille.
“All studies show that downtown hotels lend to active tourism," he said. "Downtown is contingent upon active, vibrant tourism."
A quarter-million dollars has been set aside to repair and beautify Petersburg parks.
Petersburg will receive a second round of funding, $10,5 million, in June 2022.