Grab the chance to help Rock Island spend $26.5 million 

Rock Island residents, business owners and those who work in the city are being urged to grab the chance to share their ideas for investing the city’s $26.5 million, once-in-a-lifetime federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Those dollars are from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was designed to help local governments respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery that supports long-term growth and opportunity.

The public has until Monday, July 25 to share their priorities for spending the funds as well as offer specific ideas or projects they would like to see the city undertake.

The online survey can be found here. Paper surveys also can be obtained and completed at the following locations:

  • Martin Luther King Center, 630 Ninth St., Rock Island, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
  • Rock Island City Hall, 1528 Third Ave., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
  • Rock Island Public Downtown Library, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.- noon, Saturday.
Mike Thoms
Mayor Mike Thoms

“There are many needs in our city and we want to hear from the community about their priorities,” Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms said in a news release. “It is important that we hear from as many people as possible to ensure that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has long lasting impacts on our community.”

ARPA funding is restricted to specific criteria and the city is asking the public to help identify their top five priorities from a list of options that includes:

  • Internet/broadband access; 
  • Affordable housing;
  • Assistance to small businesses and nonprofits; 
  • Community health and wellness including;
  • Mental health resources; 
  • Public safety and law enforcement technology; 
  • Parks, recreation, and neighborhood improvements; 
  • Workforce training and development; 
  • Aid to impacted industries such as tourism; market rate housing; 
  • Childcare, daycare, and early learning facilities; 
  • Infrastructure projects for water and sewer.

In addition to providing demographic information, survey takers also are asked to keep in mind the following four goals the Rock Island City Council identified to guide decision making at all levels of city government: Financial Sustainability, Effective Communication, Economic Development and Placemaking.

The city council also adopted the following ARPA guidelines to assist the public, the ARPA program manager, city staff, and other stakeholders in understanding the expectations on how these funds should be used. They include ensuring that:

  • Infrastructure projects benefit residents and reduce future financial liabilities.
  • Funding decisions align with community needs.
  • Projects demonstrate tangible and intangible returns on investment.
  • Funds are leveraged strategically to maximize projects.
  • Investments are made in economic development that attracts and retains businesses.

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