Santa Ana City Manager Kristine Ridge unveiled “Revive Santa Ana,” a comprehensive plan to use the city’s $150 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), at a Santa Ana City Council meeting on May 18. The proposal aims to help the city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and establish new infrastructure and services.
The funds consist of $128.4 million from the ARPA and $21.5 million in federal housing allocations. Santa Ana is required to spend the entire $150 million by 2026.
“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the City of Santa Ana,” Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said at the meeting. “We can make this a transformational moment where we address some legacy problems, reinvent the way we do business, and meaningfully change the lives of our residents. This is an opportunity to build back different and better.”
The current plan for the funds includes five key areas: COVID-19 recovery, public health and safety, direct assistance programs, critical infrastructure and city fiscal health.
Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, allocated $6 million for public COVID-19 education and vaccination programs, along with an expansion of city communication tools such as text alert systems, sanitation and disease prevention and public health equity.
Sarmiento also said the city council ought to consider the establishment of a public health department separate from the Orange County Health Agency operated by Santa Ana. A portion of the pandemic recovery funds will be used to conduct a feasibility study for this proposal.
$16 million of the funds will support direct assistance programs such as financial stimulus for residents, emergency rental assistance and reopening assistance for businesses. The money will also be used for public programs including after-school programs, early childhood and digital literacy education programs, food distribution efforts, sexual assault intervention and housing for homeless individuals.
Efforts to improve public health and safety will receive $14 million for healthy food accessibility, services for the homeless, new public green space and improvements of existing public facilities such as parks and libraries. The funds will also support youth education and social and mental health.
The plan also includes $24 million toward critical infrastructure such as improvements for safe and clean drinking water, sewer infrastructure, management of stormwater runoff, ventilation in public facilities and cybersecurity.
$15 million is planned to be allocated to city fiscal health and would recover revenue losses and increase city staffing to original levels before the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Santa Ana City Council has also created a 12-question Revive Santa Ana Survey, which will be used to attain input from the community on how the discretionary funds can best be used to improve the city.
“This ambitious and comprehensive initiative is designed to provide a range of economic, financial, educational and health support to residents and businesses, while also allowing the City to reimagine the services, infrastructure and programming it provides,” Ridge said. “Through this effort, we will not only help our community recover from the pandemic today, but also create a safer, healthier and more equitable future.”
Eva Cluff is a Staff Writer for the spring 2021 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.