Mayor Fischer signs ordinance allocating over $79 million in fourth round of city’s share of American Rescue Plan funds
In a press event held today at the Main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, Mayor Greg Fischer signed into law an ordinance allocating a fourth round of the city’s share of American Rescue Plan funds – more than $79 million toward projects that range from expanding the Main library and opening two new branches, to investments in childcare and early learning, as well as in parks, pools and public health.
The Mayor opened his remarks today by harkening back to last year, when he first talked about “the federal initiative that was sending funds to every community in the country, to help us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The initiative was called the American Rescue Plan and, man, was it ever,” the Mayor said, noting that the city’s 4th round of spending, coupled with the previous rounds, will result in “transformational changes in every part of our community, in neighborhoods throughout Louisville, converting a list of hopes into reality for our residents.”
The 4th round investments include:
- $8.5 million for public safety and youth development, to access a variety of services and programs for 10- to 24-year-olds;
- $7.5 million to provide access and improving quality to childcare and early learning projects;
- $8 million to renovate and expand the Main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library; $5 million to open a library branch in Fern Creek; $800,000 to renovate and expand the Portland library, and another $800,000 to renovate and re-open the Parkland library.
- Millions for the city’s parks and pools and recreation areas – including the Algonquin and Norton pools, Iroquois Park tennis courts, restoration of the Chickasaw Park pond, supporting the inclusive recreational opportunities at Berrytown Park, and supporting the master plan to improve Elliott Park.
- $10 million toward remediation of the old Rhodia brownfields in Park Hill so the property can be repurposed;
- $6 million to preserve and expand the historic Baxter Community Center building, and to create a new park at 13th and Ali;
- And $2 million for further internet expansion in Louisville.
The Mayor noted the importance of the fact that since the ARP funds were announced, “people of differing political outlooks and philosophies have worked together” in Louisville to establish priorities for spending in an equitable, sustainable manner.
“Please remember that, when all you hear about is division and derision in the public square. We in Louisville worked together, and it worked,” he said. “Thanks to all the partners who made this happen.”
The Mayor specifically thanked Metro Council, his team and “all the community partners who’ve shared their thoughts throughout this ARP allocation process,” as well as federal partners – he named President Biden and Congressman John Yarmuth – “for recognizing that cities and local communities are where the rubber meets the road for so many of the services people rely on, during the fight against COVID-19, long before and long after.”
In all, Louisville Metro Government (LMG) was allocated $388 million in ARP Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, approved by Congress to meet the most urgent needs of communities across the country as they rebuild from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
The ordinance signed today allocates a fourth round of ARP spending proposed by Mayor Fischer and Metro Council – and is based on priority areas that the Mayor and Metro Council agreed on for ARP spending: Public Safety; Public Health; Homelessness and Affordable Housing; Workforce Development; and Healthy Louisville/Healthy Neighborhoods.
The first round of spending went to COVID-related emergency needs, including $45.2 million for Public Health and eviction prevention, and was approved by Metro Council in June 2021. The second round, approved by Council in November 2021, focused on critical initiatives to address public safety challenges and homelessness, build more affordable housing for the community, continue to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and recognize the efforts of public employees.
And a third round, approved as part of the year-end budget adjustments in December 2021, included hiring incentives for the city’s public safety agencies.