The City of Merced has received roughly $27 million in federal funding as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA funds must be used by the end of 2024 and work to support the community through and after the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its many negative effects and complications. Merced has taken to holding “study sessions” and public hearings to get residents’ direct input on where the funds would be best invested.
Last night’s meeting had an astounding turnout of almost 10 attendees, some of whom came armed with a rather specific agenda. A small group of young adults came together, advocating to use all $27 million in funding to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art, mega ice skating rink in the heart of Merced.
“I think it would be super cool and would probably create a lot of new jobs,” said Thomas Rios, a local high school senior. “Me and my friends would use it all the time. It’d be really fun, and I think it might make money.” His friends gave similar and surprisingly convincing arguments to support a potential winter sports complex, eventually rallying all meeting attendees (all friends of his) to a consensus in favor of the project.
“I’m pretty sure we aren’t allowed to do that,” a representative of the City cautiously interjected since he didn’t want to upset the only constituents willing to show up. “It was great to hear from residents, though, and we look forward to more feedback at our upcoming hearings.”
While the fate of the proposed mega ice rink is still unknown, you can be present for future hearings to advocate for what Merced really needs, like affordable, multi-family housing. The $27 million in funding is intended to go towards broad categories like supporting public health and economic impacts, supporting essential workers, and investing in infrastructure. It’s up to us to decide how it will be spent! Visit the City of Merced’s website for more information about the American Rescue Plan Act and upcoming hearings.
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CNC Side Eye is strictly satirical. Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Any coincidental use of names is not intentional.