Saturday, July 24, 2021

Public input: public money, farmland preservation

The City of La Crosse is set to receive almost $22 million in American Recovery Act funding and they are inviting public comments on how to allocate it. 

"In May 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury launched the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, established by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 to provide $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. 

"The City of La Crosse is expected to receive two separate funding allocations from the ARPA totaling $21,990,000. These dollars must be obligated by December 31, 2024, but actual payments can lag to December 31, 2026."

This is the bill Democrats passed first, after defeating the criminal Trump and securing the barest of Senate majorities, with zero Republican votes, to ensure those impacted by COVID would be able to recover. Funds are to be spent on infrastructure, payments to certain professions, support for hard-hit individuals and businesses, and public health.

The city has created three online surveys for your suggestions. In addition, anyone may email or call the City Council and Mayor about city business. 

Please participate

For example: 

Infrastructure, public health, and economic equity intersect, in the transportation realm, at "active transportation"--walking, biking, and public transport. What could our city be like if anyone of any age or ability (AAA) could *safely, comfortably, directly, and easily* walk or bike to appointments, school, work, shopping, social and recreational activities? What if some of our main streets had a totally separated and physically buffered lane for bicyclists OR were turned into car-free public spaces (Pearl Street)? 

What if you could count on the bus to take you every place you need and want to go whenever you want to go there and what if, just like with our public streets, our public transportation did not charge a "toll" to use it? We all pay for the streets, but they've been taken over by cars; speeding cars, polluting cars, dangerous cars, parked cars, and parked things pulled by cars, from trailers and boats to motor homes, canoe racks, and construction vehicles.

What if our streets were reworked to ensure that pedestrians, bicycling children, and people using wheelchairs and walkers could have equal access, safety, and comfort using them? What if we start transitioning to designing for people, not for cars?

There are so many fantastic models out there. Weigh in. If we're going to recover, let's recover to a better, healthier, more equitable community.

The County of La Crosse is asking for your ideas and input on county farmland preservation. This is part of the County's long range comprehensive plan. Please visit the comprehensive planning site at don't forget to note the obvious - CAFOS and industrial animal products factories are incompatible with farmland preservation.)

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