Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue Release American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Spending Proposal
LOWELL, MA – Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue has released a budget proposal for the expenditure of funding received by the City through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Act, signed into law by President Biden in 2021, will deliver $76 million to the City of Lowell that must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. The full plan can be viewed online at: lowellma.gov/ARPAfunding.
The release of the multi-year spending proposal follows an exhaustive planning process undertaken by the City Manager and CFO Conor Baldwin, which included opportunities for members of the Lowell community to contribute funding proposals.
Under guidance for the use of ARPA funds issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury, spending must fall within certain eligible categories, which include supporting public health response, replacing public sector revenue loss, water and sewer infrastructure, addressing negative economic impacts, and premium pay for essential workers. The City’s funding plan proposes significant investments in each of these eligibility categories.
“The funding available to the City through the American Rescue Plan Act represents a historic opportunity to make investments in key areas that will improve the quality of life for all residents and to respond to distinct challenges facing the community that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” said City Manager Eileen Donoghue. “Our ARPA budget reflects a balance of the City’s needs and the priorities of the broader community. It proposes thoughtful investments intended to help Lowell rebound after two difficult years, while allowing for flexibility in the years ahead as the City continues to confront fallout from the pandemic.”
A number of specific initiatives are supported in the ARPA budget plan, including:
- $6.2 million to support the public health response to the COVID-19 crisis, including testing for Lowell residents, and grants for mental health and substance abuse prevention services.
- $11.67 million for water infrastructure investments, including lead service replacement, procurement of a vac-con truck, a backflow prevent program, and water system improvements for fire protection.
- $5.7 million for clean water improvements, including catch basin replacement, CSO mitigation, the purchase of sewer cleaning vacuum trucks, and purchase of a street sweeper.
- $11.5 million for improvements to parks, playgrounds, and open space, including $4.25 million for improvements to Shedd Park and $5 million for improvements to Cawley Memorial Stadium, and $6.25 million for investments in other parks throughout the City to promote health childhood environments.
- $10 million for a downtown and neighborhood business improvement fund.
- $2 million for permanent supportive housing to support the transition of individuals experiencing homelessness.
- $500,000 for grants to organizations supporting homeless prevention.
- $750,000 to support the recovery of festival and large events.
- $750,000 for grants to arts and cultural organizations.
- $3.9 million for eligible capital investments and improvements. to municipal facilities
- $3 million for premium payments to essential workers.
The proposal also reserves $2.1 million for community driven projects, which are intended to be selected through continued public input from Lowell residents and organizations. Public forums to discuss proposals will be scheduled in upcoming months.
“Our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be driven by and for the people of Lowell. We want to ensure that every Lowellian has the opportunity to thrive in the months and years ahead,” according to Chief Financial Officer Conor Baldwin. “The initial priority was to stabilize the city’s finances and replace lost revenue. The ongoing funding for economic development will be targeted and with a priority towards equity, consistent with the legislative intent of the federal funding.”
Click here to read the full plan.