The second phase of ARPA’s community engagement is underway in Harrisonburg

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Friendly City is moving into Phase 2 to determine how to spend more than $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal dollars.

During Phase 1, the city conducted an online survey, held several community conversations and, upon request, spoke to organizations. Ultimately, the ideas and concerns of over 2,000 people contributed to Phase 1 feedback.

“We realized we needed to prioritize all of these needs that have come to our attention and be able to categorize them,” said Michael Parks, the city’s communications director.

For Phase 2, city leaders have identified eight categories and are asking the community to rank these needs based on what they think the city should address immediately.

Increase the number of safe, accessible and sustainable housing: This includes needs such as ensuring more rental housing, more affordable housing for purchase, incentives for energy efficiency and housing for the homeless.

• Expand and enhance public spaces: This includes needs such as expanding and improving arts and cultural spaces, public parks, greenways, community recreation centers and swimming pools, and centralizing community information.

• Improve the liveability and sustainability of the neighborhood: This includes needs such as upgrading and expanding sidewalks, improving roads and bike paths, dealing with flooding, increasing Wi-Fi access, and beautifying neighborhoods.

• Improve the mental and physical health of the community: This includes needs such as addiction help, mental health treatment, health clinics, access to food, and support for the elderly and disabled.

• Strengthened support for K-12 students: This includes needs such as school buildings, student mental health, tutoring, and summer and before/after school programs.

• Support our workers and working families: This includes needs such as competitive and decent wages, job training, affordable and quality childcare, and incentive businesses.

• Strengthening the capacities of the municipal administration and its services: This includes needs such as staffing and security services, water and sewer improvements, sustainability of city properties, and offering services in multiple languages.

• Improve the way we move: This includes needs such as public transport, cycle paths, the creation of a network of usable sidewalks and electric vehicle charging stations

After choosing your top two priorities, you will be able to choose specific projects or focus areas.

“All of these things weren’t going to be able to be resolved,” Parks said. “A lot of the things we’ve heard are things the city doesn’t have jurisdiction to work on, so maybe those are things we want to work on with our nonprofit partners in the community or others. organizations to solve some of these problems. support.”

In addition to an online survey, the city also plans to meet with people who live and work in Harrisonburg where they already are. It will also host pop-up engagement opportunities around the friendly city.

On Saturday, June 4, the teams will be at the following locations:

Smithland Athletic Complex for youth football and at Smithland Dog Park

Harrisonburg Rescue Squad Open House 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The Harrisonburg Democratic Party Headquarters from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Other pop-up events will be announced on the Facebook and Twitter pages.

For more information or to take the online survey, click here.

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