May 5, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill that will direct millions of American Rescue Plan funds to businesses in north St. Louis.
Board Bill 82 channels $37 million of federal pandemic relief funds into grants for small businesses, nonprofits and community-enhancement projects within 11 commercial corridors and surrounding neighborhoods in north St. Louis city. An additional $2 million will go towards St. Louis’ Americans with Disabilities Act implementation plan to make neighborhoods more navigable for people with disabilities.
“Decades of disinvestment have left neighborhoods like this behind, stripping communities of jobs, opportunities and resources. This disinvestment pulls back our entire city and makes us less safe—north and south of Delmar” – Jones said
The $37 million will be managed by the city’s Community Development Administration and St. Louis Development Corp. The nonprofit’s executive director, Neal Richardson, says his organization will execute an agreement with the CDA to transfer the $37 million allocation to the SLDC within the next seven days. Applications will open Wednesday, June 1.
The Board of Aldermen endorsed Board Bill 82 with a unanimous vote last month after aldermen and board President Lewis Reed, the bill’s sponsor, made changes to a previous version of the bill. The mayor line-item vetoed a similar version of the bill last summer after questioning whether the allocation followed federal guidelines for what ARP funds could be used for.
In her State of the City Address last month, Jones committed to invest $150 million in ARP funds in north St. Louis before the money expires in 2026.
After the mayor’s speech, Reed’s office issued a statement that expressed a hope that history wouldn’t repeat itself and that the mayor would not veto Board Bill 82.