TOLEDO, Ohio — More than $180 million in federal funds will be pumped into Toledo over the next three years, and Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said there's something in it for everyone.
The mayor released his plans Wednesday for allocating $180.9 million awarded to the city through the American Rescue Plan. The money will allow for the addition of nearly 100 police officers and replace every private lead water line in the city.
Kapszukiewicz called the funding a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
"This is a monumental day for Toledo," he said. "Every Toledoan in every neighborhood of our city will benefit from this."
Highlights of the mayor's suggested allocations include:
- $80.9 million - Maintaining city services and adding nearly 50 firefighters and 100 police officers.
- $40.5 million - Youth programming, sports and recreation.
- $14 million - Green and healthy housing.
- $12 million - Playgrounds, parks and city golf courses.
- $10 million - Replacing approximately 3,000 private lead water lines.
- $4 million - Demolishing blighted or abandoned residences and commercial structures.
Kapszukiewicz said Toledo Police Chief George Kral has long wanted 700 officers in the city. The mayor's plan to hire additional officers would reach that goal by 2026.
It would be the highest number of police officers in the city since 2006.
The city held six public meetings this summer to gather advice from the community on how to best spend the American Rescue Plan Act dollars. The mayor repeatedly emphasized his plan was shaped by the residents of Toledo.
"This is your plan - you helped create it," Kapszukiewicz said. "If you read through the report, we went to great (lengths) to rank the statistical support each idea earned when we had those neighborhood meetings. We built this plan around that input.
"We live in a time where there is low trust between government and citizens. We have to emphasize we are listening to our citizens and doing what they told us to do."
The mayor said everything in his outline is rank-ordered based on how popular they were in the community meetings.
The plan will come before Toledo City Council next Tuesday during its agenda review session. The soonest council could vote to approve the plan is Oct. 26, but council could make changes.
"This is an exciting time," Councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson said. "I want the citizens to know council will look at this very closely. We also heard from the citizens and prioritized your requests and your needs. New homes, reinventing our neighborhoods, cleaning up blight. That is important to you and that is important to us. Count on us to make your wishes come true."
About $90 million was received in May. The city can apply for the second half in May 2022.
All funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026. American Rescue Plan Act funding is for state and local governments to confront problems caused or made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city previously stated it would focus on five areas of investment:
- Youth, recreation, and parks
- Safe and livable neighborhoods
- Job creation and economic development
- Green and healthy housing
- Avoiding cuts to city services