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Posted to City Manager's Blog by Melinda Mayo
In the midst of the community’s response to COVID-19 and its impacts, the City convened a group of residents, businesses owners, and others to advise the City Council and City Administration on the most effective way to use allocated Federal and State funds received via the CARES Act. This advisory panel followed a series of community conversations, focus group meetings, stakeholder interviews, and public hearings. Through these efforts, the City supported local small businesses, helped residents avoid eviction, supported virtual learning, provided access to bilingual information regarding COVID-19, and much more.
American Rescue Plan Act
Recent approval of the American Rescue Plan Act once again provides significant Federal support to assist our community—this time, with our recovery and to help build resiliency for residents, households, small businesses, neighborhoods, and our City.
As in the case of determining how best to use the allocated CARES Act funds, the Council is seeking advice from it residents, business owners, and institutions. This most recent effort, Star City Strong— Phase 2, has included interviews with key stakeholders and a number of focus group meetings facilitated by Council Members.
The City is now seeking applications from interested residents, business owners, and those affiliated with local organizations and institutions to serve on an advisory panel. The panel will consist of about 40 folks and will meet several times between July and September. The work of this panel will be instrumental in helping the Council and Administration determine how best to invest the more than $64 million to be received by the City over the next two years. Applications may be completed via the City’s website and are due by 5 p.m. this Friday, July 16.
For those not interested or able to serve on the advisory panel, there will be other opportunities for you to get involved and to help the panel and the Council. Two virtual town hall meetings will be conducted prior to the convening of the advisory panel. The first will take place at Noon on July 20 and the second at 6 p.m. on July 21. Those interested in participating in either of the meetings must register with the City Manager’s Office by sending an email to angela.o’firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on July 19 or, if you simply want to view the meetings, they will be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page. The input provided at these meetings will be combined with the information gained through the interviews and focus groups, and with background materials provided by City staff to serve as foundational information for the advisory panel.
Meetings of the advisory panel will be accessible to the public with agendas and minutes posted on the City’s website. The panel’s recommendations will be presented to Council at a public meeting in September and also posted on the City’s website.
We have the opportunity to greatly assist the community in its recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, and to do so in a manner that makes our community more resilient to similar shocks and disruptions in the future. Please consider joining in the discussion in one of the ways noted.
-- Bob Cowell
Posted to Roanoke Recap by Melinda Mayo
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Between July 20 and Sept. 8, the Virginia Department of Health will offer residents the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine free at selected Roanoke Public Library branches. Dates, times, and locations can be found here.
On July 20, Roanoke Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission and the City of Salem, hosted a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the new Barnhardt Creek Bridge and donor plaza. This new bridge, located on Roanoke River Greenway off Blue Ridge Drive, provides greenway users with over two uninterrupted miles of trail, and links the two municipalities
The Department of Criminal Justice Services has awarded the City of Roanoke two grants. The first is a $25,000 grant to complete a Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment, which will begin soon and be concluded by the end of the year. The second is a $500,000 grant for a Gun Violence Intervention Program, which will be used over a two-year period, June 1, 2021 through June 20, 2023. More details can be found here.
There is still time to register for "Becoming Trauma-Informed," an event presented by the City of Roanoke's Gun Violence Prevention Commission. This free event will be held on July 27, 2021, 7 p.m., at the Belmont Branch Library, to educate participants about the impact of trauma on individuals and our community. Click this link to register:
Now through Aug. 30, City residents can add solar power to their homes by taking advantage of discounted pricing, low upfront costs, a free satellite solar site assessment, and access to expert advice through the Solarize Roanoke program! The program is managed by the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and presented in partnership with the City of Roanoke. More details are here. To participate, sign up at solarizeva.org/roanoke.