Community members meet with city leaders today, discuss how to spend $138M from ARPA

DAYTON — Dayton community members are meeting with city leaders again this morning to share their ideas on how to use the $138 million Dayton expects to receive as their share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The Federal American Rescue Plan Act was signed into action back in March to help the nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting will take place at the Lohrey Recreation Center at 10:30 a.m.

>>Action plan unveiled for downtown Dayton recovery following COVID-19

At the last meeting on July 16th dozens of intense conversations about cash took place.

Nearly sixty people met to talk about how to spend the money.

Each person filled out survey sheets and then joined in groups to compare notes

There was a common thread in the meeting with residents saying this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that had to be used for long-term, multi-generational community benefits.

Deputy City Manager Lashea Lofton led the meeting and said the city has six preliminary categories it wants to focus on:

Neighborhoods, amenities, major catalytic projects, city projects, community investments, and external awards.

Alan Walder, a veteran and 40 year resident of west Dayton said, “I am 59 years old and I have never seen this type of money come in and the community input makes this a tremendous opportunity for us to do the right thing.”

Dee Wooding, President of the Westwood Right Project, was pleased to see the city’s emphasis on neighborhood investment.

“Particularly as it relates to the blight and illegal dumping sights and these vacant lots,” said Wooding.

As her group continues to combat various community eyesores, she said she hopes the city will give her non-profit money, to buy back some of those empty lots, for beautifying projects that can sustain themselves.

While Dayton has until 2024 to spend the money, Walder said his community will stay involved every step of the way well beyond tonight’s meeting.

“We will be watching. We will be watching and participating,” said Walder.

ARPA calls for funds to be provided directly to the city for local use.

The following community meetings have set dates on when they’ll take place:

  • Monday, July 26, 3 p.m., Conner Child Health Pavilion, 1010 Valley St.
  • Tuesday, Jul 27,12:30 p.m., Dayton Metro Library, Downtown, 215 E. Third St.

For possible additional meeting dates, more information, and a related survey, to go daytonohio.gov/arpa.