ST. LOUIS — A multi-million-dollar announcement from Mayor Tishaura Jones Monday morning means $150 million in American Rescue Plan funds will be invested in north St. Louis.
Mayor Jones said it’s her responsibility to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars wisely because it will impact residents and the region long-term.
“Our success is all intertwined,” said Jones. “It’s the city. It’s the county. It’s the region.”
She knows everybody is watching, every move regarding the more than $500 million the city has.
“I am proud to say that we have programmed over $80 million of the first traunch of the $135 million that was initially passed,” Jones said. “We worked with Comptroller (Darlene) Green and Alderwoman Sharon Tyus to make changes to Board Bill 82, which is the 37-million-dollar investment in North St. Louis to make sure those funds get out quickly.”
She said it’s important to be intentional with spending.
“These are federal dollars, and we have to spend them wisely, and within the confines that they have designed these funds, and we didn’t get the final ruling until just January of this year,” Jones said.
Monday’s announcement to commit $150 million of American Rescue Plan funds for north St. Louis as part of the St. Louis Development Corporations Roadmap to Economic justice is another positive step.
“We have an opportunity to bring everybody to the table to help with this $150 million investment to leverage that for broader investment and to make that grow,” she said.
Jones also stressed her commitment to public safety.
“My heart bleeds every time I open up my morning report and read that we’ve lost another life of gun violence, or that another life has been affected by gun violence,” she said.
Jones said violent crime is down 25% in the last year, and she’s started the Office of Violence Prevention to center all of its violence prevention efforts in one place.
For the first time, she also shared the heartache she feels from the loss of former State Representative Cora Faith Walker.
“She was a light in my life, and there isn’t a day that goes by since she left this earth on March 11 that I haven’t thought of her or talked to her in my head. She was a brilliant, brilliant woman taken too soon,” Jones said.
She said there’s plenty of work to be done, and as the first African American woman to serve as the Mayor of St. Louis, she’s ready for the challenges.
“I look at all these progressive ideas across the country, and I say this could be St. Louis,” Jones said. “We could take this money, and put it to good use, and invest it in ways that our children and grandchildren will still feel the effects of the investments that we made today. And that is my goal.”