LANSING, Mich. — The city of Lansing will soon get its second installment of American Rescue Plan Act money, close to $25 million. On Monday, Mayor Andy Schor to the City Council how he would like to see the money spent.
“The Federal Government issues the money in two portions,” Schor said. “ Last year, we got $25 million in August and we’ll be getting another $25 million in August.”
Schor said the first $25 million that the city of Lansing receive through the American Rescue Plan Act Funds was used to repair the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
Whether it was parking or Lansing Center or income tax or many other things that resulted in economic losses for the city, the first half went to that,” Schor confirmed.
Now Schor has plans for the other $25 million, starting with $3.2 million, he’ll like to see go towards the 110 parks around the city.
“We’re going to do more with basketball. We’re going to create some pickle ball courts. We’re going to create some splash pads. We have a whole variety of needs that we need to fund,” Schor said.
Next, Schor hopes to spend $4 million on the Lansing Equitable Economic Development Program, an initiative that would give resources to minority business owners.
Schor also hopes to use $1.2 million to assist small businesses downtown .
“You know, there used to be tens of thousands of state employees that were downtown, but now they either aren’t here or only here for like two days,” Schor said. “ So, it’s a change in economy downtown, so we need to get more people to live there and in order for us to do that we need more businesses.”
Schor also hopes set aside more than $650,000 for gun violence prevention through continued support of the Advance Peace Program and the Department of Neighborhoods, Arts and Citizen Engagement.
Schor said it's an important issue. Lansing police report that so far this year five people have lost their lives to gun violence.
“We’re doing all we can in terms of enforcement, prevention, street outreach to turn people around and more,” Schor said.
Council member Patricia Spitzley said while she understands some of Schor's priorities, there were parts of the proposal that raised concerns.
“I really have a problem with the dollar amount that goes toward assisting the Lansing School District for the graduating ambassadors,” Spitzley said. “I think it says the city would pay for the ambassadors' first two years of college and that doesn’t sit well with me. I just need more information on that.”
Schor said some employees in the city will be getting bonus pay for working during the pandemic. Spitzley hopes that pay is distributed to front line workers first.
“I am reluctant to approve a budget, or approve ARPA dollars being spent when we have not paid our frontline workers first,” Spitzley said.
Schor’s proposal leaves $2 million unobligated so the city council can decide what that money will be used for.