Louisville Metro Board Approves ARP’s 4th Round of Federal Funding
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Members of the Metro Council on Thursday approved the allocation of more than $79 million from Louisville’s fourth round of U.S. bailout funds to reopen multiple libraries, renovate swimming pools and parks and supporting youth initiatives, among other areas.
The allocation of $79,249,400 in ARP money that members approved by a 23-to-1 vote is lower than the $87,387,000 originally proposed by Louisville officials in April.
The board deleted or revised the following items between the initial proposal and the final order, with members wanting more discussion before bringing them back in future proposals:
- Withdrew $7 million that was to be matched with other sources to help construct a new building for housing on the campus of Simmons College in Kentucky.
- Reduced an allocation of about $12.5 million for “COVID essentials” to nearly $7.5 million. The money for the Metropolitan Department of Public Health and Welfare “will fund operations planning and infrastructure, contact tracing and basic needs, community COVID-19 testing, community support and disaster relief efforts. vaccination against COVID-19,” according to city documents.
- Removed a $2 million allocation for “modernizing” Metro Public Health and Wellness operations by implementing an electronic health records system with telemedicine capability.
An amendment approved by Metro Councilman Markus Winkler, D-17th District, also took $6 million from the city’s capital budget and added it to this latest ARP cycle to help fund a downtown campus. -city of the University of Louisville dubbed the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute New Vision of Campus Health.
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Additionally, an amendment by Metro Councilwoman Nicole George, D-21st, to use $750,000 to expand the city’s ability to seize abandoned properties in South Louisville failed by a 10-15 vote.
George was the only “no” to vote against approving the fourth round of spending.
Winkler said moving the $6 million to the ARP allocation would help free up more funds for road paving in the city budget.
In the final proposal, Metro Council members approved spending a portion of the ARP money to renovate and reopen the Parkland ($800,000) and Fern Creek ($5 million) branches of the Louisville Free Public Library. .
And part of the funding will help renovate and expand the Portland Library ($800,000) and Main Library ($8 million) branches.
ARP’s fourth round of funding also includes $8.5 million to support youth development, $7.5 million for child care providers and early learning projects, $500,000 $ to implement the Elliott Park Master Plan in the West End, $200,000 to improve Berrytown Park, $500,000 to renovate Iroquois Park tennis courts and $5 million to help renovate Algonquin and Norton Pools.
The city will use $10 million to clean up Rhodia’s brownfield site at 1495 S. 11th St. in Park Hill, $6 million to preserve and expand the Baxter Community Center, and $2 million to expand high-speed Internet access. throughput in Louisville.
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Louisville received $388 million to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021.
ARP funds must be directed to different areas by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026, according to federal rules.
Members of the Metro Council have steered previous rounds of Louisville’s ARP share toward COVID-related needs, affordable housing, premium pay for city employees, and violence prevention programs.
City leaders said they are focused on workforce development for the more than $60 million of ARP money that remains unallocated and hope to figure out where that money will go by the end of it. november.
Cherokee Golf Course Debate
Members approved Metro Councilwoman Cindi Fowler, D-14e’s amended order regarding the debate over the future of the Cherokee Golf Course.
The measure allows nine-hole courses like Cherokee Park to have ‘an experienced manager’ if no PGA professional is at the helm and says Louisville should issue a request for proposals from third parties to continue managing the course if the city has managed this for more than a year.
All members except Metro Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-8th, whose district includes Cherokee Park, and George voted in favor of the ordinance.
Fowler amended his order at Thursday’s meeting to clarify that the new request for proposals should be for a group to keep the course as a golf course rather than trying to turn it into something else.
Chambers Armstrong said the ordinance did not include the qualifications of an ‘experienced manager’ of a course and that the amendment guaranteeing the continuation of golf regardless of who manages the property was ‘dishonest’ and ‘not good government’ “because it excluded proposals that did not include golf.
The ordinance, which has also been amended to remove a section restricting nonprofit groups from operating more than two public golf courses, was passed by the Parks and Sustainability Committee earlier this week after ‘Armstrong and two other Metro Council Democrats introduced a separate resolution to allow the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to turn the Cherokee Golf Course into more trails and parkland.
But that resolution was withdrawn ahead of Thursday’s meeting because the sponsors said they respect a desire to release another tender that could decide whether a new group runs the Cherokee Golf Course or the fairways give way. at the park.
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Metro Parks has managed the Cherokee golf course throughout the pandemic, with Olmsted Parks Conservancy first proposing a takeover in 2019 and then again this year which the nonprofit group said would offer economic improvements and environmental on a less efficient course than others in terms of income. and rounds played.
But supporters of the Cherokee Golf Course, which is one of the nation’s oldest public courses, note that it turned a profit in 2021 while having fewer amenities than other courses and offers an affordable experience to a mix diverse of young and old players.
Language Access Policy for the Louisville Metropolitan Government
Metro Council members also approved an order on Thursday requiring all city departments, agencies and offices to “take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs and activities” for those with limited or no proficiency in the ‘English.
The language access plan should include “written translations of vital documents and verbal translation services” from each public entity that are “necessary to provide meaningful access to its programs and services,” according to the order.
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The order of George and Metro Councilor Jecorey Arthur, D-4e, with multiple cosponsors, notes that 9.6% of Louisville households primarily speak a language other than English.
And it says the US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey found that 73,566 Louisville residents were foreign-born, with the city’s immigrant population growing 35.5% since 2010 and 154 languages spoken. in Jefferson County Public Schools.
Contact Billy Kobin at [email protected]