What do Clevelanders want to spend $500-million of covid relief funds on?

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than $500-million is headed to Cleveland under the American Rescue Plan Act for covid relief.

What should the city spend this windfall of federal dollars on?

19 Investigates combed through hundreds of responses from Clevelanders to find out.

The city is getting the ARPA funds over two years to fund economic recovery from the pandemic.

People didn’t hesitate when we asked where the money should go.

“I think helping with crime, helping with again, existing infrastructure that’s all aging and all at its useful life, I think it definitely could be improved,” Deana said.

19 Investigates got a hold of public records showing results from the city’s survey to residents, asking them how they would like to spend the money.

Here’s a snapshot of what we found.

One resident wrote, “Water bills are outrageous.”

Another wants to see “more street lights.”

One person said, “fix the roads; they are all terrible!!”

Another suggested, “buy new ambulances.”

One resident commented, “Crime is rampant in this city and getting WORSE.”

Another person wanted the city to “build more quality, affordable housing.”

People we spoke with added in a few more ideas.

“So I definitely believe a lot of that money needs to go into education and after-school recreation programs,” Anaiya said.

“Different funding for charities. I have a lot of sisters and friends who are Trans women who are homeless and don’t have nowhere to go, and I thought that would be something good to do for the community,” Jaylin said.

Mayor Jackson’s plan is working its way through the city council, focused on the first part of the funds, about $122 million.

He’s proposing most of that money would go to public safety, economic development, and building and housing.

“It could go to good, good use. Let’s disperse that money in the proper way,” Michael said.

Cleveland City Council has to approve all of the legislation covering ARPA funds.

They hope to have their spending plan in place by November 1.

They’ll talk about this again in a meeting next Monday at 10 a.m.

These discussions are about the first half of the ARPA funds.

The city gets the rest next year.

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