GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A lot of cities and businesses are doing what they can to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic. Grand Rapids is spending $1.4 million COVID relief funds to accelerate a couple of major projects in the parking department.
The city says they originally put them off because of the pandemic but now says the funds will help upgrade their system and fix crumbling infrastructure.
"The city of Grand Rapids received a direct allocation. Our award amount is just over $92 million," Grand Rapids Chief Financial Officer Molly Clarin told FOX 17.
According to the CFO, that's how much the city has in American Rescue Plan Act funding. Grand Rapids is using some of that money to go towards parking services.
"We have about $5.8 million allocated towards the parking services for GR mobile," Clarin said.
She says ARP funds can go towards loss revenue, which GR Mobile saw during the pandemic.
"We didn't have as many people in our garages throughout the week. So parking services had to adjust the services drastically. And among those other things that they cut were just the asset-management projects," Clarin said.
The latest projects they're planning in 2022 include updating 130 new parking spots, adding to the already 30,000-plus available for visitors.
"Having these multi-space pay stations makes it easier, less labor intensive for staff, which means less hours out there having to empty meters and do things like that. So we're trying to be innovative and adapt to what's going on," Clarin added.
The city is also putting $1.1 million towards improving staircases in the Louis Campau and Pearl Ionia staircases after noticing corrosion and needing ADA improvements. In addition, the city is also using $300,000 after postponing upgrading meter parking.
All funds, they say, will go a long way in helping the city.
"When you put off asset management, things like that, it just becomes more and more expensive in the future," Clarin said. "It's great to have this resource where we can pull these federal dollars and start addressing things that have been put off."
Late last year, the city did earmark $1.6 million for improvements. That money is going to three elevators at the Ottawa Fulton garage.
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