The Town of Pittsford was awarded $2.8 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Meant to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, ARPA funds can allow municipalities to recoup revenue losses and to complete deferred projects, programs and maintenance. Items funded must be able to be completed using the ARPA funds, without requiring additional or ongoing funding sources, as long-term funding is not available.
In 2020 and 2021 the Town incurred a variety of pandemic-related expenses. Due to the uncertainty of potential expenses incurred and income shortfall, we also had to cut a variety of maintenance work, projects and services from the 2021 budget. This fiscally responsible approach was prudent and helped us to meet the needs of the pandemic despite the financial drain we faced. But it meant we had to do without some needed maintenance and improvements and some desirable – and some income producing – programs and services. ARPA funds can now help us recoup pandemic expenses and revenue losses, and fund the projects, programs, maintenance and improvements we had to defer.
Each Town department has been tasked with identifying postponed and other necessary and desirable projects and improvements for which the Town may be able to use ARPA funds. We expect that departmental proposals will only make use of a portion of the ARPA funds available. Department proposals will be made at Town Board meetings. Details of these proposals will be posted on the Town website, together with the other materials for the Town Board meeting, for public review and comment prior to the meeting. You’ll find these materials at the Agendas and Minutes page under the “Government” tab.
ARPA FUND PROJECTS: YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
Identifying projects for municipal improvements that may be eligible for ARPA funding is something for all residents to consider. Meant to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, ARPA funds can allow municipalities to recoup revenue losses and to complete deferred projects, programs and maintenance. The Supervisor and Town Board are looking not just to Town Departments and staff, but to you, our residents, for suggestions along these lines. We therefore ask you, as residents of Pittsford, to offer your thoughts to Supervisor Smith and the Town Board members, to make productive use of these federal funds for municipal purposes.
The Town Board has in mind projects that can be fully completed without recourse to other funding. You can share your ideas with them at any Town Board meeting in person. You can also send an email with your suggestions to the Supervisor and Town Board members together – email them at www.townofpittsford.org/electedboard/contact.
THANKS FOR ARPA FUNDS SUGGESTIONS – KEEP THEM COMING!
Many thanks to the residents who stopped by the Town booth at the May 28, 2022 Paddle and Pour festival to give us their suggestions for spending our federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. We’re still taking suggestions! You can share your ideas with us at any Town Board meeting in person or via email at email@example.com. You can also send an email with your suggestions to the Supervisor and Town Board members together – email them at www.townofpittsford.org/electedboard/contact.
APPROVED PROPOSALS FOR ARPA FUNDING
Pittsford Community Library
After hearing a presentation by our Library Director at the March 1, 2022 Town Board meeting, the Town Board approved spending $170,000 in ARPA funds for several Library initiatives that could not be funded last year. These include a range of building maintenance items, increased outdoor seating, technology and space updates to the public computer and learning center, funding a collection audit to ensure the Library is meeting its collection goals, and eliminating overdue fines for children’s and teens’ books and materials. You can see the Library’s ARPA proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-Pittsford-Library-2022.pdf.
Pittsford Parks Department
At its March 15, 2022 meeting the Town Board heard a presentation by our Parks Foreman and approved spending $281,930 in ARPA funds for a variety of parks projects and improvements that could not be funded last year. These include adding a pollinator garden and native plantings at Great Embankment Park, adding neighborhood connections to the Auburn Trail, improvements to Farm View Park, and the purchase of a tractor and attachments to enable expanded organic pest control and improved trail and field maintenance. You can see the Parks Department's proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-Pittsford-Parks-Dept-2022.pdf.
Copper Beech Pocket Park
We're celebrating the Town's original Copper Beech tree with a new pocket park on South Main Street - the location where we have planted the first clone of the original Copper Beech tree. The new Copper Beech Pocket Park will connect via walkway to the original Copper Beech Park. See the Copper Beech Pocket Park project overview here and view the Copper Beech Pocket Park project plan renderings here.
Pittsford Information Technology Department
At our April 5, 2022 Town Board meeting the Town Board heard a presentation by our IT Director Joy Brown and approved spending $147,200 in ARPA funds for a range of necessary upgrades and tools to enhance the security and efficiency of our IT infrastructure, processes and resources. The approved items comprise IT hardware, software, training, risk assessment, and security improvements, including moving some Town systems to the Cloud for improved performance, access and security. You can see the IT Department's proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-IT-Dept-2022.pdf.
Pickleball Courts at Thornell Farm Park
Last summer the Town Board invited public advice on potential uses for the $2.8 million in federal funds we received under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) and had the means of communication in place for Pittsford residents to comment. We reiterated this request for public comment in the months following. We did so again recently, concurrently with our Town Department Heads briefing the Town Board on initiatives postponed due to COVID and other necessary or publicly beneficial projects that qualify for ARPA funding.
Overwhelmingly, residents asked us to provide regulation courts for the game of pickleball. This made sense in light of the interest in pickleball that residents have expressed to staff in our Recreation Department. A racket/paddle sport combining elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, pickleball has been one of the fastest-growing sports in town, as it’s been across the country. Supervisor Smith asked our Recreation Department and Public Works Department to think about options for regulation pickleball courts. They were able to identify ways to accomplish the goal at reasonable cost.
At our Town Board meeting on April 5, 2022, Commissioner of Public Works Paul Schenkel presented the options - you can see his presentation at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-presentation-pickleball-2022.pdf. The Town Board approved creating four regulation pickleball courts at Thornell Farm Park. The cost is estimated at $16,000, and qualifies for ARPA funding. Subject to availability of materials, which has been an issue for municipalities and others recently, we expect to have these new courts open sometime this summer.
The federal government provided ARPA funds to allow municipalities to recoup revenue losses due to the pandemic, to complete deferred projects, programs and maintenance and pursue other projects related to municipal services. Projects with broad public support or the potential for it are of interest to us at Town Hall, so please continue to share your ideas with us. You can send an email with your suggestions to the Supervisor and Town Board members together, at www.townofpittsford.org/electedboard/contact.
Pittsford Sewer Department
At our May 3 Town Board meeting, the Town Board heard a presentation by Pittsford Sewer Department General Foreman Jim Peterson and approved spending $498,000 in ARPA funds for a range of projects and improvements that could not be funded last year. These include relining the 60+ year old sanitary sewer system in the Alpine neighborhood, pump station improvements to address capacity and reliability issues, replacing the Mile Post School septic system, and needed repairs to the Sewer Department building. You can see the Sewer Department's proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-Sewer-Dept-2022.pdf.
Pittsford Youth Services
At our June 7, 2022 Town Board meeting, the Town Board considered a one-time allocation proposal from Pittsford Youth Services and approved spending $39,400 in ARPA funds to support increased counseling, mental health and other support services to meet challenges brought about and intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The services and programs made possible by this funding include additional therapy space, two additional social workers, a second Youth Summit, and expanded programming for Camp Heartstrings – a three day summer camp for children who are adjusting to the death of a loved one. You can see the PYS proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-PYS-2022.pdf.
Pittsford Highway Department
At our June 21, 2022 Town Board meeting, the Town Board heard a presentation by Pittsford Town Commissioner of Public Works Paul Schenkel and approved spending $663,000 in ARPA funds for a range of projects and improvements that could not be funded last year. These include road maintenance at the Pittsford Cemetery and in other necessary areas, repairs to aging culverts and catch basins in two neighborhoods, sidewalk improvements to boost connectivity and ADA access on Main Street, fleet maintenance, and needed repairs to our Highway garage facilities. You can see the Highway Department proposal at www.townofpittsford.org/files/images/ARPA-funds-proposal-Pittsford-Highway-Dept-2022.pdf.