Cleveland Heights looks for long-term impact from one-time COVID money

The city will receive $38 million but it has already allocated $18 million for infrastructure
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 1:12 PM EST
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CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Cities around the country look at how to spend American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, including Cleveland Heights.

“Oh, this is tremendous,” said Cleveland Heights City Councilman Tony Cuda. “This is basically thirty-eight million dollars that fell out of the sky.”

Cuda said $18 million of those dollars will go right into the ground immediately to comply with a consent decree from the EPA to take care of water and sewer issues.

Cleveland Heights did an online survey from July to November with top choices including helping businesses after COVID, after-school, recreational, and tutoring programs, and housing, Cuda’s top priority.

But the city is also looking at the ice rinks, a debate in the city -- the North Rink is in need of major repair and the South Rink is currently without ice at all.

“One point eight million dollars to repair the whole North Rink,” said Cuda. “The South Rink, the mayor would like to make sure we engage the community and have a conscientious before we move forward.”

Conscientious needed by the end of 2024, when ARPA dollars need to be allocated.

“We need to make sure that this has a long-term impact for this community,” said Cuda. “We want to have well-maintained neighborhoods. We want to attract new people, I think we can have a big impact there.”

All ARPA dollars need to be spent by 2026.