Councilman proposes $62.5M in pandemic relief funds for south St. Louis County


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas proposed a plan called “South County Strong” to help those in District 6 who are negatively affected by the pandemic.

This would give money to public works, infrastructure, physical and mental health services, as well as small businesses.

If passed, the legislation would carve out $62.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funds for south county.

Approximately $15 million would toward helping small businesses, $10 million would go toward household assistance and child mental health services, $7.5 million would be for the renovation of the swimming pools and tennis courts at the Kennedy Recreation Center, $7.5 million would be for upgrades to a local swimming pool, and $2.5 million would be used to create a sobering center.

Jake Dilley of Comic Headquarters in Oakville welcomes any funding.

“I mean business is good but it can always be better,” Dilley said. “The biggest thing we suffer from is just supply shortages. There’s a plastic shortage; there’s a paper shortage, so comic books are getting delayed a couple of weeks, or just indefinitely, and it just hurts.”

Across the street is another busy shopping center. Oakville Butcher Block fills orders with the help of the owner’s son Joey, but still, feels the pain of the supply chain shortages.

“Normally, we carry prime cuts here, but at the moment, we can only afford to handle choice. So yeah, it’s been affecting us,” Joey Miller said.

Miller also acknowledged worker shortages and lower pay to keep costs down.

“It would definitely help more employees I’m sure because we struggle with clean up back here just having enough employees to come back and clean up,” said Miller.

Their neighbors at On Pointe Dancewear also face similar problems.

“It was really difficult filling those special orders and getting our shelves full. Our shelves are nice and full now, but it’s back to dance season,” On Pointe Dancewear sales associate Samantha Murrell said.

Murrell says the store would benefit from funds that would help fill the gap of lost income, something that is long overdue.

“They could have reached out more to support all these small businesses because you know with the holiday season coming up we don’t want to lose all these small businesses,” she said.

The proposal will be up for a vote by the county council on Nov. 9.

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