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Gainesville residents offer feedback on proposals competing for American Rescue Plan dollars

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 11:33 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Federal dollars are making their way to communities across North Central Florida as part of the American Rescue Plan.

There are about 70 proposals on the table in Gainesville, and city leaders are deciding how to spend roughly $32 million from the federal government with residents’ help.

Velearia Hopkins attended the city’s in-person American Rescue Plan community feedback session. She believes the forum was an excellent opportunity to hear about all of the proposals.

“There are some great proposals on there, but some of the things that are in there I think are redundant. They shouldn’t even be discussed because it has nothing to do with COVID. Riding paths or parks and all that kind of stuff,” explained Hopkins. “What we need to do is focus on people getting back to work and for those who have not yet recovered from COVID finding out what are their needs, what are the needs of the people.”

RELATED STORY: Gainesville commissioners use equity tool to distribute American Rescue Plan funds

Proposals were submitted by Mayor Lauren Poe and commissioners as well as nonprofits. They were divided into four categories, economic, housing, social services and health, broadband, transportation, grocery, capital projects. People at the feedback session were tasked with deciding how the proposals would increase equity in Gainesville.

“GRU definitely needs to step up. People that lost their jobs, now that it is hot outside summertime, and running their air conditioner and all of that. They do need to be cut slack. They do need to have payment plans. I have been told several times there is no payment plan for GRU. The housing and all of that kind of stuff. Landlord, tenant, we should have something for homeowners their mortgages are again in forbearance,” said Hopkins.

On July 8, commissioners will receive all of the proposals, evaluations, and community feedback. Commissioners are expected to give their budget and finance team direction on how to allocate the money at their July 15 meeting.

There will be another community feedback session on Wednesday, June 30. To find out more information, click here.

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