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City of Jackson has more than $31 million in federal funds. Now, how to spend it?

Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 27, 2021

JACKSON, Mich. — The city of Jackson has $31,444,000 at its disposal from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.

But, how will it be spent?

The city is looking at spending the money in five general areas, most notably upgrading infrastructure. Officials have proposed spending close to $8 million of the money on lead service line replacements.

Earlier this month the first of two neighborhood meetings took place for residents to let the city know how they believe the city should spend these dollars.

Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick says the public really cared about the roads in the first meeting.

“If you drive around Jackson you can tell that our roads are in dire need of help,” Dimick said. “So, a lot of the comments you can imagine were about infrastructure. A lot of people wanted to see that money spent on fixing our roads and also maintaining our infrastructure. We don't have a problem at the moment with our infrastructure but we need to be putting money in it to invest in it.”

Other proposals include spending close to $8 million on wastewater infrastructure and a similar amount to replace lost income tax revenue from the pandemic.

A little more than $6 million would be earmarked for park improvements such as rehabilitating Nixon Park as well as the city’s trail system, adding a community kitchen and tree trimming. Around $1.5 million would be used for economic stabilization and “support for Jackson families and individuals,” according to the city press release.

“It's interesting to see how many people have ideas for that $31 million,” Councilmember Laura Dwyer-Schlecte said. “I mean there really are a lot of ideas floating around out there and how to spend that. Whether we can is yet to be seen so it's just a good idea to have the meeting.”

Nothing will be decided right away. The city has until 2024 to spend the money. A neighborhood meeting scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled but Mayor Derek Dobies plans on rescheduling it soon.

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