Lansing residents weigh in on where rescue funds should go

Lansing residents weigh in on where rescue funds should go
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 10:22 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mayor Andy Schor presented his plan for spending federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Lansing City Council Monday night.

The funding totals nearly $49 million that will go toward programs and projects throughout Lansing.

“We have put together a plan that we believe will be the best possible use of the ARPA dollars that have come through,” Schor said.

One of the largest expenditures will be going to the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), which helps businesses grow and also works to attract businesses to Lansing. Facilitating the deal to bring GM’s upcoming battery plant to Lansing was one of its biggest projects in recent history.

LEAP is just a portion of the organizations on the list. Some of the money will also be going to the Parks and Recreation Department to help renovate parks and Advance Peace, which is a program to fight gun violence.

While many see those as worthy recipients, some Lansing residents have ideas of their own to put on the list.

“I think it should go to the fast food workers,” said Shelly Bradley. “The essential workers.”

Bradley said we too often forget about those who were still working when the world shut down due to COVID.

“They only make minimum wage and it’s not enough to live off of,” Bradley said. “And, just think, they serve us.”

Cheyenne Liberti moved to Lansing recently from Connecticut. As someone who advocates for a greener way of life, she hopes to see the funds dedicated to reducing Lansing’s carbon footprint.

“I studied public health with a concentration on climate change on health,” Liberti said. “Climate change isn’t just an economic issue. It affects people in Michigan. I think it’s important that we reflect that urgency.”

While the needs are great in various aspects of Lansing’s economy, infrastructure and overall well-being -- Bradley just hopes it can have a positive outcome.

“This is a good thing,” Bradley said. “Hopefully that money goes to good use.”

Others -- who did not want to appear on camera -- said they agreed with Bradley. They believe a good portion of the funds should go back to essential and frontline workers.

Several highlights from Schor’s plan can be seen below. You can read Schor’s full list of ARPA spending on the City of Lansing’s official website here.

Program or projectAmount
Gun violence prevention through continued support of the Advance Peace program and the Department of Neighborhoods, Arts & Citizen Engagement$665,000
Parks & Recreation upgrades to several parks and facilities across the city, including new playgrounds, pickleball courts, tree planting, trails, and so much more$3.2 million
Office of Financial Empowerment to promote and expand economic mobility & education programs$1.2 million
The Lansing Equitable Economic Development program$4 million
Downtown Lansing and small business assistance programs$1.2 million
Economic Development grants and assistance programs$1.1 million
NAACP & Alliance of Lansing Pastors recommendations$1.4 million
United Way community programs$987,500
Council-identified programs that meet federal eligibility$2 million

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