Rescue plan

Lynn has her say on Rescue Plan

LYNN — Residents and business owners submitted responses to the city’s online survey of projects funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Mayor Jared Nicholson said more people are responding every day, with more than 200 respondents in February alone. Nicholson said it’s not the only method that has elicited responses from the public.

“We’ve used email and social media and we still have time,” Nicholson said. “We have the survey in five languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Khmer.”

Nicholson said a paper version of the survey will also be available at upcoming in-person community meetings related to the American Rescue Plan Act.

According to the mayor’s office, the online survey will remain active until March 31.

The investigation into ARPA funds is part of a larger outreach effort by the mayor and city council to Lynn businesses and residents to educate and seek input on policy areas.

According to the survey, these areas of focus are COVID public health measures, mental health assistance, substance abuse grants, improvement projects, mortgage support, rental relief, utility assistance, improving broadband and public Wi-Fi, replacing water pipes, upgrading sewage, improving storm water, improving roads and sidewalks, public safety facilities and equipment, upgrading existing parks, creating a pocket park, increasing natural “green” areas, and improving the construction and upgrading of school buildings in Lynn.

The responses received to date are in written form and online. The ARPA team will review the data after the surveys are completed and learn where the interests of residents and business owners lie.

“There was no specific numerical target for the number of respondents,” Nicholson said. “Data analysis will take some time once the online survey is complete.”

The city will have $58 million of the $75 million in funds received to use in these areas. Of these funds, $13.5 million is allocated to upgrade HVAC systems in public buildings in Lynn; $500,000 is being allocated to purchase COVID antigen rapid test kits, and $3 million is being allocated to the Lynn Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (EDIC/Lynn) for small business relief grants.

Following the online survey, Nicholson said the next phase will involve in-person community meetings for more feedback and then a review of the data collected to determine the support and interest received by areas. In the spring, projects will be proposed to the Lynn ARPA team based on information received during the survey and in-person community meetings. A second proposal period will take place later in the year.

Additionally, Nicholson said ward councilors will play a role in overseeing and assisting with projects located in their respective wards.

“We want to break the process down into these phases to make it accessible,” Nicholson explained.

General Counsel and Council Liaison for ARPA Funding Brian Field explained that funds must first be approved by the Ways and Means Committee and then by the full Council before they can be approved. be used for projects. He said he and the rest of the board were in regular contact with Nicholson and his team, who provided updates and timelines for projects. As for the investigation, Field said it was also a success.

“My City Council colleagues and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with the community and appreciate everyone’s feedback,” Field said. “We are happy that everything is moving forward with the mayor, his staff and everyone involved.”