Town Administrator Mel Kleckner is pleased to announce that the Town of Brookline and the Brookline Community Foundation (BCF) is launching a community-wide engagement process to inform potential ways the town may use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
Brookline will receive about $43 million allocated through ARPA, which was signed into law on March 11. The program is intended to support the U.S. effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in myriad ways, including offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic and supporting public health efforts meant to curb the spread of the virus. The federal government has given local jurisdictions discretion over how to spend the money to ensure funding responds to the wide range of community needs.
Funding can be used for:
- Supporting public health response efforts or addressing negative economic impacts
- Replacing public sector revenue loss
- Establishing premium pay for essential workers
- Investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
“This represents an opportunity to make transformational investments in the Brookline community,” Town Administrator Kleckner said. “It is our goal to have significant community involvement so that we may identify where this funding will make the greatest impact.”
To gather input from community members on ways to use the funding, BCF will host virtual active listening sessions, work with various community partners to facilitate focus groups and partner with the town to co-host a community charrette. BCF also plans to release an online survey in the coming weeks through its website. All community members are encouraged to participate.
Virtual listening sessions will take place on:
- Thursday, October 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
- Sunday, October 24, from 3 to 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, November 10, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, November 17, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
The community charette will be held on Wednesday, December 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. To register for an event, please click here.
“Ensuring everyone in the Brookline community — especially underrepresented groups and those who COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted — has the opportunity to participate, share their perspectives, and contribute insights is fundamental to making spending decisions more equitable, effective, and aligned with community members’ priorities,” BCF Executive Director Giselle Ferro Puigbo said.
At the end of the community engagement process, BCF will issue a report detailing key themes and learnings and community recommendations for potential ways to use the funding. This report will be presented to the Select Board and made public on BCF’s website.
Additionally, BCF will offer technical assistance through programs and workshops to those interested in applying for ARPA funding through the Brookline ARPA OpenGov platform in January 2022.
Unlike the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which were intended to allay the direct and immediate impact of the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan allows for more flexible spending and extends the timeline for recipients to allocate money. About $350 billion will be passed down to state, local, and tribal governments to help cope with the economic and public health fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For information, resources, and updates, please visit BCF’s website.