NCLM Southern City, Volume 72, Issue 3, 2022

SOUTHERN CITY QUARTER 3 2022 14 ARP CORNER The American Rescue Plan in Action he American Rescue Plan offers a generational opportunity for our municipalities, not just to recover from the pandemic, but to thrive well into the future. It is this forward-looking aspect of the ARP that is most consequential. How best can we utilize this money to create a lasting impact? All across North Carolina, cities and towns are developing plans and programs specifically geared towards this question, and history shows us that these projects will be successful. When our municipalities receive financial support, they achieve substantial successes. Cities get the job done. This ongoing series will showcase those projects, plans, and transformational investments, both to highlight the end-to-end impressive work of our municipalities and to share best practices with other cities and towns. SYLVA GETTING A LOT OUT OF A LITTLE Sylva, NC Population: 2,696 Funds Received: $872,000 Plan • Bridge Park beautification and stormwater improvements • Pandemic related investments, including upgraded building ventilation, new audio-visual capabilities, and outdoor recreation Strategy Like many towns in western North Carolina, Sylva regularly plays host to far more than just its 3,000 permanent residents. As much becomes clear the moment you step foot downtown among the bustling shops, breweries, and restaurants all nestled beneath the sight of the mountains and historic hilltop Jackson County Courthouse. For American Rescue Plan purposes, however, it’s only the full-time residents that count for funding totals, leaving Sylva with a relatively small appropriation to serve a quickly growing community. They succeeded in that goal through a single major project: Bridge Park, one of the town’s most well-used public spaces, regularly hosting gatherings, events, weekend concerts, food trucks, and more. “It gives us another feather in our cap to attract visitors, but it’s a plus for our residents,” said Mayor and NCLM Board Member Lynda Sossamon. “It makes them feel proud of our downtown.” The project is two-fold, strategically addressing both the improvement of a community asset and the needed investment into local infrastructure. First, in regards to the community asset, the Bridge Park project will address a largely unused gravel lot that lies adjacent to the park. Sylva bought the property in 2014. This project will renovate that area to double the parking availability, create greenspace, introduce landscaping, add a walkway, and construct a pier over Scotts Creek, which runs through downtown. It will be a total makeover of Sylva’s flagship park. T