FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Appleton City holds first listening session to hear from the community on how they should spend American Rescue Plan funds

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton is receiving $14.8 million from the American Rescue Plan to help with things such as public health, the economy, infrastructure and supporting essential workers.

Mayor Jake Woodford said, “Small business support is one example. Such as businesses that have been harmed by covid there’s a possibility funds can be used for that. But there’s also limited infrastructure that can be allocated.”

The mayor said there are limitations on what they can spend American Rescue Plan dollars on and they want to make sure they spend them responsibly.

“We’re also not going to add personnel to the city budget because we know once those grant funds are expended we’re going to have to renew those positions with dollars we don’t have or let those positions go,” Woodford.

A variety of topics came up at the meeting ranging from supporting small businesses to helping seniors thrive.

Barb Tengesdal, of First Five Fox Valley, said, “10% of the funds be earmarked create a thriving communities early childhood investment fund. It would be great to help add in extra aides to childcare programs. We need for the next few years those extra set of hands that those programs can’t afford to add in to help with those children.”

Marissa Downs, an Affordable Housing Advocate, said, “The concept for this affordable housing development would be taking some underutilized parking lots north of college avenue and turning them into townhomes and midrise building earning at or below 60% of the area median income.”

Other suggestions included using funds to reconfigure college avenue to have a bike lane and hiring more police officers.

The mayor noted that hiring more full-time employees is not something they are considering because it is not sustainable in the long term.

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