Jamestown City Council members promised “more is to come” after approving over $2 million in American Rescue Plan funded projects Monday night.
While Council members Regina Brackman and Andrew Faulkner voted no, all other council members approved $500,000 toward the redesign of West Third Street.
Council President Tony Dolce said the decision to remove the Cathedral Oaks over a year ago was difficult and emotional, “I know there was a lot of talk of, at that point, of doing some work. That it was a time to start that entrance to the city. To start over. Those sidewalks are in rough shape. It is a major thoroughfare for people to walk and drive, although the street is not going to be reconstructed.”
DPW Director Jeff Lehman said the project will go before the Jamestown Planning Commission in April, with work hopefully beginning in May. He said the new trees will be planted by the Parks Department in the Fall.
Council also approved using $750,000 ARP funds for a Roof, Private Sewer Lateral, Private Water Line Repair/Replacement grant program.
Council member at large Jeff Russell said he was happy to support the resolution as it will help homeowners, “I understand that there has to be equal money that goes toward our businesses and our downtown but I’m surely am not going to forget about the elderly people that might be struggling to make their mortgage payment with super high inflation going on and they can’t afford some of these repairs. And I will push for some of this money to continue to go back to the taxpayers.”
Council member Marie Carrubba said her office often receives calls from seniors, retirees, and veterans with limited funds who are looking for help with housing issues, “And try to get roofs repaired especially in some of the older homes that they occupy is extremely difficult along with replacing water and sewer lines. I’ve heard that excavators, I think, start around $6000 to have one in your front yard. Most of the people that, you know, if you look at the median income around $43,000 in the city, it’s not affordable for individuals to maintain their properties when these kind of emergencies occur.”
Council also approved using American Rescue Plan funds for replacing water mains, equipment for DPW, upgrades to the fire stations, and creating a Tree-Damaged Sidewalk Replacement Rebate program.
Dolce said when it comes to the ARP funds received by the city, the council has a fiduciary responsibility to see that it’s spent wisely and they do get a return on investment, “There are a lot of people who have a lot of needs. $28 million is just a drop in the bucket for what is needed in this community. We’ll do our due diligence and do the best we can to expend the money as we see fit. Again, a delicate balance in neighborhoods versus providing for our business downtown and our industries. There is a lot of need in different areas. We’re looking at all those different areas when we’re making these decisions.”
Council also approved allocating $1.227 million in additional American Rescue Plan funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development toward a Rental Rehabilitation Program. Director of Development Crystal Surdyk said she anticipates submitting the program for approval by HUD by the end of this week.