Town will seek resident input on using federal funds

Town will seek resident input on using federal funds

NORTH PROVIDENCE – This town has the opportunity to build on its fixes and improvements of the past few years by appropriately spending some $9.44 million, says Mayor Charles Lombardi.

Like many communities, North Providence has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do the right thing with this money, said the mayor, and leaders want to get it right.

Using a 2012 windfall from a settlement with Google, the town was able to fix its police pension fund and build a new public safety complex, among many other investments, including the coming construction of a new animal shelter, and those decisions set taxpayers up for a more secure future, says the mayor.

Later this week, the town plans on finalizing a questionnaire to residents asking how they would like to see the $9.44 million spent, and officials will also soon be going out to bid to hire a consultant on the money, said Lombardi.

Uses for the federal American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funds are limited to such investments as sewer and water and broadband upgrades, but Lombardi said the town is generally already doing pretty well on those fronts. He said consultants can add a key layer of expertise in getting creative with how the funds can be used.

The town is currently waiting on more feedback from the U.S. Treasury on exactly how the funds can be used, he said, but the town is generally “in pretty good shape.” He said he would like to use some of the money on recreation upgrades, public safety improvements and other infrastructure projects, but needs to make sure those uses are appropriate.

Some of the items on his own wish list, said Lombardi, include new fire pumper trucks and upgrades to the town-acquired Pate property and Coletti Farm property to convert them into multi-use recreation spaces and athletic facilities to take some of the burden off of the existing high school football field, which is also set to go out to bid for upgrades.

The funds must be used within three years, said Lombardi.

“No one wants to turn the money back,” he said.

The mayor had previously said that the high school field might be a target for the funding, but he now says that the money for that needed project will come from elsewhere.

The $9.44 million is coming to the town outside of separate federal funding coming to its schools.

Of $1.78 billion coming to Rhode Island in the American Rescue Plan from the federal government, $1.124 billion is allocated to state government. The remaining $655 million includes $55 million to communities such as North Providence, including $3.24 million to the town.

Of another $205.5 million in additional local recovery funds allocated to the state’s five counties, including $124 million to Providence County, the town will receive another $6.2 million, or 5 percent of the $124 million based on the town’s population accounting for 5 percent of the total population in the county. That’s a total of $9.44 million coming to the town.

Comments

I am new here and using a fresh point of view. My area is pretty nice and neighbors take care of their property but I’m noticing things are missing here. Where I am from there are plenty of parks, and very nice and maintained football field/track… there are afterschool programs and a legit recreational program for different age groups. Correct me is I’m wrong but I haven’t found any… I don’t think there is enough for the children of north providence. It’s quite disturbing. Each time I inquire about this I’m directed to a neighboring town.. why is that? WHERE are the recreational programs? Where are the sports in the city…the children really are the future.

Hopefully the multi-use recreational spaces aren’t just a thought…I hope this plan becomes a reality.

Also some of the spaces need upkeep…. Some areas look deserted ..perhaps the city can hire people to take care of public spaces

a statue of myself on a horse in full medieval armor in front of town hall.