At last Tuesday evening’s City of Easton Public Meeting, Mayor Panto and the attending members of City Council, as well as representatives from the City Administration, received input from members of the public on potential uses for the $20.6 million that the city will be receiving from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act. The permitted uses for these funds have not yet been finalized at the federal level, so City Administration must wait until further guidance is received.
- Affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, rental assistance, and housing insecurity assistance
- The expansion of broadband internet throughout the city to improve connectivity for low-income families with children who are attending school from home
- Assistance with childcare services and costs for residents who have lost jobs and/or income during the pandemic, or who have accumulated medical expenses as a result of having been ill from COVID-19.
- Upgrades to city parks and pocket parks
- Pedestrian improvements for better walkability in the city, such as disability awareness signals at intersections
- Programs for children focused on mental health support including counseling and related activities
- Small business support
- The creation of a public restroom downtown
Also discussed was the current resident parking situation in the downtown due to the closure of two city parking lots in the last several months. Recommendations will be presented to City Council by City Administration at an upcoming Council Meeting for changes to the current parking ordinance.
- Creating more on-street parking spaces where possible, including changing Northampton Street from 2nd St. to 4th St. to one direction in order to add angled parking spots to the southern side of the street.
- Eliminate parking zones for residential parking permit holders allowing them to park in any legal spot (other than on Northampton Street or 3rd Street)
- Running the city trolley as a parking shuttle on a predetermined route offering free rides to remote parking lots to encourage
- Allowing residential parking permit holders to temporarily exchange their street permit for a garage parking pass (at no additional cost) during the 12–14-month construction of the new N. 4th St. garage. However, during this time they would only be permitted to park in a garage and would not be allowed to park on the street. At the end of the timeframe, they would get back their regular residential parking permit for street parking.