American Rescue Plan Act Round Table
September 21, 2021
Last month we invited leaders from different Ohio communities back for another virtual round table to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The rescue plan intended to provide relief for the impacts of COVID-19 regarding economic, governmental services, infrastructure, and essential workers. We discussed the effect its legislation will have, and what everyone plans to do with the assistance. The legislation was put into act in March of 2021 and includes a total of 1.9 trillion dollars intended for COVID-19 relief, amounting to $195 billion dollars to the state and $195 billion dollars locally. This virtual round table discussion included TRIAD Partners Brent Foley and Zach Price, along with TRIAD’s Managing Director Todd Moroz, Joseph Henderson with the City of Upper Arlington, Mike Schuiling with Liberty Township, Jennifer Dunn with Xenia, Bethany Staats and Drew Turner with New Albany, Amy Walbridge with the City of Dayton, and Scott Murphy with the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
Brent began the conversation by asking three questions:
What is a higher priority in use of the funds for you? Reversing negative economic impact? Assistance in recovering from lost revenue (ie. tax income)? Making necessary infrastructure improvements? or premium pay for essential workers? And why?
How are you planning to use the funds?
What creative ideas have you contemplated using the funds for or heard others are contemplating?
Each person took turns answering these questions and here’s what we found.
Joseph Henderson began by stating that they were looking to improve the public infrastructure which included advancing things in sewer and sanitary. They also wanted to help local businesses, create grant programs for employee retention, and aimed to aid retail and restaurants.
Bethany Staats with New Albany commented that their priority was to assist hotels as well as making sewer/water improvements. Their community also had a strong desire to see an implementation of pickleball courts.
Drew Turner talked through a few different uses for funds: aid for travel/tourism industry and what that might look like, water and sewer projects, and using the funds to mitigate the impact of COVID as well as for outdoor activity areas (playgrounds, pickleball courts, etc.)
Jennifer with Xenia said they were still trying to figure out what they would do with the government assistance but wanted it to be something the community would find beneficial. The community wanted to see something more meaningful than just fixing potholes. Many good things could be done in Xenia including cleaning brownfield sand reutilizing them in a way for the community to use.
Scott and Amy from the City of Dayton and Downtown Dayton Partnership told the group that they wanted to continue to move toward impactful implementation of the funds and that they’re going through a process to do so. The City of Dayton was chosen as one of six cities in the nation to be selected for “stimulus command centers” to maximize the impact of the funds. The other chosen cities include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Birmingham, Alabama. Ultimately, Scott and Amy, and the City of Dayton are putting together ideas for public realm improvements and how to make the downtown area better, smarter, faster, and more appealing to the community and visitors. Their focus is short-term, and they would like to resolve loan funds targeting first-floor businesses across the city and mentioned supportive financing paired with commercial financing.
TRIAD’s Zach Price represented Downtown Delaware and explained that Delaware created a partnership project during COVID with county/city/downtown property owners to create a strategic plan. Delaware wanted to focus on streetscape improvements, water/sewer, broadband activity, redevelopment around the riverfront, and park projects.
After everyone answered, we then went around again for closing remarks and ideas. Similar fund utilization ideas were shared among the group including aid to local businesses/ restaurants/hotels/etc., park/public improvements, and making decisions that will positively affect each community. Sharing ideas helped spark conversation and questions and gave everyone a perspective of what other leaders were doing and how our communities can get past the pandemic. We want to thank everyone who participated and look forward to more engaging conversations to come!