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Participatory Budgeting Cleveland calls on greater community input with ARPA funds

Some papers with the words "American Rescue Plan" highlighted
Tada Images
Some papers with the words "American Rescue Plan" highlighted

The City of Cleveland will be receiving more than $511 million, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the federal government's push to soften the blow of the coronavirus pandemic on municipalities.

That amount is actually the 8th highest in the nation amongst major cities. Those dollars have been distributed in installments some landing last year, more came in 2022.

That huge influx of cash is certainly a boon for any municipality, but some civically minded residents and activists are critical of how the dollars are being spent.

Their criticism is; that the everyday citizen is not involved in how to distribute the ARPA dollars - and those residents are, arguably, the people who are most familiar with the issues of the city.

Cleveland did survey it's residents and received about 2,000 responses. But the group Participatory Budgeting Cleveland is pushing the city to set aside $30.8 million, to be spent on the needs of the city as dictated by its citizens.

Today on the program, we'll hear from some of the folks with Participatory Budgeting Cleveland.

We'll also say goodbye to the comic strip Funky Winkerbean who's creator calls Northeast Ohio home.

Finally, the conclusion of our most recent Sound of Us series. That series featured formed Ideastream Public Media intern Xeavier Bullock, out in the community, hearing life stories from everyday Ohioans.

- Michelle Jackson, Freelance Writer; Community Organizer, Participatory Budgeting Cleveland

- Jonathan Welle, Co-Founder, Cleveland Owns; Participatory Budgeting Cleveland Member

- Kabir Bhatia, Arts Producer, Ideastream Public Media

- Tom Batiuk, Creator, Funky Winkerbean Comic Strip

- Xeavier Bullock, Former Ideastream Public Media Intern

- Jared Peters, Owner, J & J Custom Car Care

Participatory Budgeting Cleveland

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.