READING, Pa. — As part of the American Rescue Plan, $61 million is co to Reading, and Mayor Eddie Morán is outlining his plans to spend the money on things like safety, education, job creation and community and economic development.
"I told my entire staff that we will only get one shot at making these sweeping changes," Morán said a public forum at the Hispanic Center of Reading and Berks County. "We are not in a hurry to, as we need to commit the funds by 2024 and spend them fully by 2026."
Money will be allocated to two big issues in the city: fixing blighted properties and creating a liaison to assist the police in curbing ongoing violence.
"This city employee would not only collect information on assisting community resources but would also work with neighborhood organizations," Morán said. "These initiatives will assist in the creation of a block association and captains."
As the city looks to adequately distribute the relief money, there are number of challenges the now fourth-largest city in Pennsylvania is facing.
"This is generational funding," said Abe Amoros, the city manager. "We get one bite at this apple, so it's important that we savor every morsel of that apple and make sure it lasts a very long time."
The mayor said the U.S. Treasury Department will be sending out its specific spending guidelines soon, and he plans to have final recommendations to council by the end of this month.
"We are tired and ready to move on, but we can't — not yet," Morán said. "We are not there yet. Our administration looks to keep everyone safe."