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Wednesday February 8th

Carrboro Town Council allocates ARPA funds for affordable housing, bike plan

Perry Place, the new Orange County community located on Merritt Mill Road, pictured on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.
Buy Photos Perry Place, the new Orange County community located on Merritt Mill Road, pictured on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.

At its Oct. 11 meeting, the Carrboro Town Council revised and adopted the Grant Project Ordinance for allocated funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The Town of Carrboro received a grant from the federal act totaling nearly $7 million to allocate funds that alleviate negative economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant is placing funds in a variety of projects in areas including public works, economic development and public safety.

Of the ARPA funding received, 38 percent, or more than $2.5 million, will be used for housing and community services. This includes $1 million for the construction of more affordable housing units.

Carrboro has already provided funding for an affordable housing development on Merritt Mill Road. The construction of the complex, called Perry Place, is scheduled to be completed by January 2023.

The ordinance also provides $75,000 for recommendations by the Town's Racial Equity Commission.

The Town will be putting an additional $500,000 each into emergency housing assistance and housing preservation and weatherization.

“This is one of those great opportunities where we’re doing climate action and affordability in our town,” Town Council member Sammy Slade said.

The additional funding from ARPA will allow for additional preservation and weatherization in the homes of people who earn enough to be above 200 percent of the poverty line, but still below Carrboro’s average median income, Dan Sargent, executive director of Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, said. 

The ARPA grant will also fund other including small business grants, disparity studies, park renovations, a mental health crisis counselor pilot program in the police department and zoning projects that will improve bike accessibility in Carrboro.

The ordinance left $170,178 in unassigned funds, which the Town Council allocated toward implementing its already outlined bike plan.

The bike plan was adopted by the Council two years ago, and many of the projects included in it are incomplete or have not been initiated, Council member Danny Nowell said.

“So I think we need to reckon with the fact pretty directly that we are going to need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars that are not presently on our mind just to meet the obligations for this plan, which we’ve already done,” he said.

Nowell suggested designating $30,000 of the $45,000 budgeted for Bike Fix-It Stations at Barnes Street and the Willow Creek Shopping Center to the Shelton St. contraflow bike lane. 

The Town would continue to provide $15,000 to the Martin Luther King Jr. Park Fix-It station, which would provide resources for bicycle repair for the neighborhood.

The contraflow bike lane was proposed in order to connect the Hillsborough Road bike lanes with Carrboro Elementary School. It is estimated to cost a little over $24,000 to construct.

In addition, the Town will provide $113,000 for one crosswalk on Homestead Road — a priority of the Bike Plan. It will also improve access to McDougal Elementary School with a rapid flashing beacon on Hillsborough Road.

The Town Council unanimously adopted the ordinance, with Mayor Damon Seils clarifying in the motion that they would like to allocate a total of $200,000 to pedestrian and bicycle improvements with an emphasis on the bike plan.

The grant project ordinance will expire at the end of 2026 or when all the funds have been expended, whichever occurs first.

@eliza_benbow

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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