The City of Santa Ana is planning to use $142.9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to launch Revive Santa Ana, a comprehensive pandemic recovery program that also will allow the City to reimagine the services it provides.
The Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday night was presented with a broad outline for Revive Santa Ana and Councilmembers each shared their visions for how the funds could be used. Among their ideas were investments in parks and greenspace, early childhood programs, bridging the digital divide, making services more accessible, and planning for the City’s long-term financial stability.
Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said the City Council should also look into the possibility of Santa Ana creating its own health department so that it doesn’t have to rely on the County’s health agency at critical times such as the past year’s pandemic.
“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the City of Santa Ana,” Mayor Sarmiento said. “We can make this a transformational moment where we address some legacy problems, reinvent the way we do business, and meaningfully change the lives of our residents. This is an opportunity to build back different and better.”
As presented to the City Council, Revive Santa Ana would include five key focus areas:
- COVID-19 Recovery: Address inequities of the pandemic, outreach, testing, facilitation of vaccinations, and education.
- Assistance Programs: Financial relief to those most impacted, including businesses, workers and residents.
- Homelessness: Enhance services and improve access to permanent housing.
- Critical Infrastructure: Revitalize and enhance infrastructure and services to address community needs such as outreach, amenities, mobility, and technology.
- City Fiscal Health: Help the City recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19 and restore staffing and programs.
The City has not yet received the expected stimulus funds and the federal government has not released detailed spending guidelines. The City Council will consider a specific spending plan for the money at a later date.
Under the federal stimulus act, the funds would need to be used by December 2024.