The gist: Readers want to see ARPA funds go toward keeping the city afloat (literally) and its residents housed. About a third of respondents prioritized stormwater management and infrastructure fixes that target drainage, while another third think funds should support more affordable housing and better shelters for those experiencing homelessness. (Responses edited for brevity and clarity.)
Stormwater management is an easy choice. The amount of rain this year is unprecedented.Ryan Cazares
Considering many of the housing struggles individuals are experiencing, housing plans need to be implemented. Funds should be allocated to supporting our lowest-income communities.Seth Auzenne
Readers agreed that funds should address drainage issues, but not necessarily about where and how. Some want funding to dredge the Vermilion, others want to tackle stormwater issues Downtown, and still others think funds should address perennial flooding issues in Northside neighborhoods.
I have been on Lebesque Road for 22 years, and never once have they dredged the coulee. We flood from very little rain! The Northside always gets left behind.Judy Stephens
Downtown is desperately in need of drainage and sewer infrastructure improvements for outdated systems. It’s vital for tourism and for retaining our young people.Greg Walls
Housing was a huge concern. Funds could be used, readers say, to build more shelters for people experiencing homelessness, or to provide affordable housing or housing assistance to those who need it.
We need significant investment in social housing and both short- and long-term facilities for houseless people to use. People were in crisis already, and a vicious hurricane season on top of a pandemic and the downturn of the only major local industry have our most vulnerable neighbors in dire straits.Megan Romer
Public health was another big-ticket item, with readers wanting to see more vaccine outreach and clinics, as well as more facilities for folks struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Public transit to make the city more navigable for those without vehicles, small business aid and investment in civil servants and public facilities like libraries and parks also topped readers’ lists.
Vaccine programs and public health should be made more accessible to those lacking transportation.Jackie Lyle
Give employees from the parks back their jobs, and invest in higher pay for all civil service employees, teachers, and health care workers.Lillian Espinoza-Gala
Want to weigh in? We’re still listening! Submit your ideas through our form here. We’ll make sure your voice makes it to the councils, and in the coming weeks we’ll have an updated report.