The City of Norfolk wants your input on where funding from the American Rescue Plan Act should go

Downtown Norfolk
Posted at 8:39 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 23:22:15-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The City of Norfolk is developing an investment blueprint using the funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and it wants your input on where the money should go.

Two in-person public meetings will be held in November, allowing residents to meet with subject matter experts for the proposed projects included in the preliminary investment plan and provide feedback.

Proposed projects range from park upgrades and boat ramp construction to flooding mitigation efforts and resident assistance programs. The entire preliminary plan is available in the Resource Guide, and it includes project scopes, timelines and funding costs.

You can also use the city’s online engagement tool, Prioritize, to provide feedback. The interactive site allows users to review the proposed projects, make their own selections and rank them. Data from this tool provides city staff with stakeholder preferences on the proposed projects in the investment plan.

Norfolk residents are encouraged to visit the city’s ARPA webpage for links to the Resource Guide, Balancing Act and the presentation provided to Norfolk City Council that lays out the blueprint of the preliminary investment plan. The webpage is updated regularly as new information, tools, dashboards and data is released.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed by Congress in March 2021 to aid in the economic recovery and emergency response to COVID-19.

The first public meeting was held Monday, November 15 at the Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library, but it didn't go as planned.

Norfolk city leaders asked the community to vote on the pre-planned ideas that were discussed at the council retreat this summer, but attendees felt that the ideas they were asked to vote on were not ideas that came from them.

"I feel like the city skipped a step. They presented a lot of different projects they wanted us to vote on, and they didn't do the first step of asking the community of what projects they would want," said attendee William Courtney.

That meeting ended with people walking out, and eventually city leaders shut down the meeting without anyone going through their voting process.

The city will try a second public forum that will take place Thursday, November 18 at 6:45 p.m. the Norview Community Center.

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