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Syracuse Council approves $23 million in ARPA funds for home repairs, small businesses, infrastructure

Sharon Owens.jpg
Tom Magnarelli
/
WRVO Public Media
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens.

The Syracuse Common Council approved around $23 million in projects that are being funded by the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. The latest series of investments proposed by Mayor Ben Walsh's administration will go towards small businesses, infrastructure and home repairs.

Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens proposed the idea to Walsh to put money towards supporting homeowners. Owens said throughout the pandemic, people spent a lot of time at home.

“And the physical wear and tear on our properties and our homes was significant, in particularly, those in our neighborhoods who have limited income to start,” she said.

There’s $4.5 million in loans for urgent, significant repairs.

“We’re talking about roofs, plumbing, sewer leaks, furnaces, windows,” Owens said.

There are micro-grants for exterior safety, like porches, stairs and railings. Plus, there’s money to help with the closing costs for first-time homebuyers. All the programs will be administered by Home Headquarters, with expanded eligibility for people, based on income. Councilor Pat Hogan said it’s good to see money going towards stabilizing and improving neighborhoods.

“You’ll see definitive improvement to those neighborhoods,” Hogan said. “Some things are going to last 20 years; keep people in their houses.”

The Council also approved $4 million to support small businesses affected by the pandemic with operating capital and to create a revolving loan fund for other business development projects that improve the built environment in neighborhoods. There’s money for the design and plans to extend the intake pipe in Skaneateles Lake, where the city gets its drinking water, to reduce the risk of contamination from harmful algal blooms. And $2 million will go towards the construction of a fire training tower for the fire department.