NCLM Southern City, Volume 72, Issue 3, 2022

NCLM.ORG 15 Second, and perhaps more importantly, the impacts of the renovation will go far beyond just the surface-level appearance of the park. It will also address critical stormwater concerns for downtown. In 2016, Sylva received a grant from North Carolina’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to study Scotts Creek. Sylva used those funds to hire an engineering firm, which evaluated the area and drew up the plans Sylva is now pursuing. The park serves as a central tool in Sylva’s stormwater approach. By building the bio-retention pond, creating greenspace, and completing all other elements of the plan, Sylva isn’t just making the area more attractive—it’s also increasing its stormwater capacity to better protect downtown and the local watershed. And because of Sylva’s years-long preparation for this plan, this project is shovel ready. “The park is an asset to our town, but it’s really the stormwater aspect that’s going to have a long-term impact,” said Mayor Sossamon. “This helps the community.” To fill out the rest of their ARP funding, Sylva made several investments to directly address the ongoing risks of the pandemic, included upgraded ventilation systems in all public buildings and investments into their audio-visual capabilities to allow public meetings to be streamed virtually to the public. The town also made a modest investment into a skate park to both serve the local appetite for outdoor activities and to further attract tourists. “This is a generational chance to do something really good for our town,” said Mayor Sossamon. Administration Preparation: Sylva had already laid the groundwork for the Bridge Park project when they first bought the adjacent land and then later commissioned a study of Scotts Creek. With that information available and a professionally developed engineering plan on hand, they simply needed to work on acquiring the necessary funding. ARP filled that gap. Efficiency: As a tourist community, Sylva’s local government serves many more than just its 3,000 full-time residents. Yet, it’s that 3,000 number that determines funding. Sylva stretched each dollar through the Bridge Park project, as it serves multiple uses: stormwater infrastructure, public space, and a downtown asset. Treasury Compliance: Mayor Sossamon was clear in noting how Sylva made sure to strictly follow U.S. Treasury guidance regarding American Rescue Plan funds. “Treasury clearly emphasized water infrastructure and pandemic-related investments. We wanted to honor that,” said Mayor Sossamon. WAYNESVILLE QUICKLY, EFFECTIVELY TARGETS BIGGEST NEEDS Waynesville, NC Population: 9,869 Funds Received: $3.23 million Plan Government services and equipment • Law enforcement dispatch center upgrade – $124,870 • Police department vehicles – $250,000 • Fire service vehicles – $82,250 • Tractor with snow removal equipment – $35,000 • Column lifts for garage – $40,000 • F350 for garage – $62,000 • Small excavator – $30,000 • Garbage and recycling upgrades – $310,141 Public infrastructure, non-water • Greenways for bridge – $265,911 Public infrastructure, water, and sewer • Storm project, Kentucky Avenue – $90,000 • Water project, Pigeon Street – $398,500 • I&I mitigation – $150,000 • I&I and manholes – $240,000 • Water plant upgrades – $300,000 • Sewer slip lining – $300,000 Community Assistance • Homeless assistance – $70,000 • Future Capital – $483,238.78 Strategy • Utilize previously created Capital Improvement Plan to efficiently and effectively target projects • Support ongoing investments into water and sewer utility • Address staffing concerns to improve ability of local government to deliver services Waynesville’s American Rescue Plan story is a case in solid, foundational government administration. Their strategy and planning efforts were firmly in place well before ARP monies became available, making it so that the additional funds could be quickly put towards established needs and strategic efforts. Not even one year after receiving their first tranche of funds, Waynesville has invested nearly all of the appropriation into the community. “It’s being used, and it’s already making a difference,” said Town Manager Rob Hites. Waynesville’s strategy towards the American Rescue Plan is both far-reaching and targeted, said Hites. The town’s investments touch several areas of town, including public safety, homelessness, sanitation and recycling, parks and greenways, town staffing and most notably, infrastructure. These projects were not chosen at random. Rather, they’re part of a strategic effort by the town to address their most pressing needs and make best use of every ARP dollar received. The American Rescue Plan in Action continues on page 16