SIREN Recommendations for City of Spartanburg APRA Expenditures

Recommendations for City of Spartanburg’s use of ARPA funds


Note: Some of these items have been recommended by other community and advocacy groups in town. In those cases, we wish to underscore the need they have identified.

Potential uses for American Rescue Plan Act funds:

·       Develop a Southside master plan

·       Set aside seed money for a southside economic development corp. (Southside Neighborhood Improvement Corp.)

·       Develop a Southside business incubator (possibly in partnership with USC Upstate or Wofford)

·       Install more covered bus stops and better signage at bus stops in English and Spanish

·       Install better lighting in neighborhoods that don’t have it

·       Set aside funds to offset the cost of leasing space downtown for minority-owned businesses

·       Set aside funds to offset property tax increases in neighborhoods in danger of gentrification

·       Set aside funds directly for neighborhood associations

·       Develop an Opportunity Center on the southside; set aside funds to combat homelessness

·       Develop more parks, with emphasis on amenities for people with disabilities – wide, seamless sidewalks to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, braille signs, etc.

·       Playground improvements, including shaded areas, water bottle filling stations, and tables for chess/checkers

·       Better fund emergency communications so that information on natural disasters and other emergencies is available in Spanish and other languages

·       Fund more community gardens

·       CC Woodson improvements: Cover the pool, make it heated; Expand the gym/exercise room.

·       Develop neighborhood-level historical and cultural center(s) that provide education about community history, entertainment that reflects the community, and theatrical training for residents (set design & building, costume concepts & design, writing scripts, acting, directing, management of the center, concession, gift shop, ticket sales – all skills that can be used elsewhere.

We believe this money should not be used for:

·       Cosmetic improvements

·       Revitalization of Morgan Square

We have begun reaching out to established community organizations as potential partners on specific items.

We would be happy to discuss these items further with staff or council members.


·       Will community organizations be able to apply for and/or draw down any of these funds?

o   If so, would these organizations have to be a nonprofit, such as a 501(c)3 or (c)4?

·       Will the city hold training sessions for nonprofits or community organizations who wish to tap into these funds?

We believe there is an extensive network of neighborhood, community and nonprofit organizations with established networks that the city should approach about collecting input, including:

·       Speak Up

·       Rebuilding the Southside

·       Neighborhood associations (those with nonprofit status and otherwise)

·       SIREN

·       PASOs

·       Upstate Action Alliance

·       ReGenesis

·       Black Economic Mobility Coalition

·       United to Prevent Crime

·       For our Brothers and Sisters

·       Bloom Upstate

·       Northside Voyagers

·       Children & Choices

·       Spartanburg Divine 9

·       Spartanburg Jaycees

·       Alianza Spartanburg

·       Spartan Latinx Leaders and Allies (USC Upstate)

·       El Centro (USC Upstate)

We believe these organizations and others should be allowed to survey their membership and make proposals for possible funding.

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