WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Warwick has determined how it will be spending its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The Warwick City Council met Monday night and voted to approve several projects, including upgrading public safety, purchasing additional garbage trucks and fixing the city’s roads.
Mayor Frank Picozzi said the city’s needs dictated the spending, and all the decisions were made based on residents’ concerns.
“This helps so much. It gives us a great head start,” Picozzi added.
The city received $33 million in ARPA funding, $2.5 million of which has been set aside to cover revenue lost throughout the pandemic.
Picozzi described the funding as a huge blessing for an old city. He said $7 million is being put toward the Bayside Sewer Project, which hasn’t been touched in more than two decades.
The city is putting aside $3 million for the water transmission line project, which has also been put on the back burner due to costs.
Picozzi said the city will also address the city’s aging fleet of garbage trucks, which has been an ongoing issue.
“It’s a big concern because our fleet is very old,” he said.
Funding will also be put toward buying new fire trucks and ambulances, which is something Warwick Fire Chief Peter McMichael said the city desperately needs.
“We have rescues that are past their normal span of time they should be used,” he explained. “We have to have a plan in affect to replace our apparatus and so the ARPA funds are going to help us accomplish that goal.”
Picozzi said the new fire trucks and ambulances are scheduled to arrive at some point next year due to the ongoing supply shortage.
The mayor said city councilors spoke with community groups and were given $200,000 to spend on improving parks and playgrounds.
The city is also using the federal dollars to build an outdoor skating rink and event center right behind City Hall.
“It’s going to be called City Hall Plaza,” Picozzi said. “It’s going to be roller skating rink in the summer. We’re going to have food truck events there, dances in the wintertime … it will be just like the Providence skating rink.”