ESSEX — In response to longstanding socioeconomic disparities and challenges in Essex that were only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is putting forth $3 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to support revitalization in the community, according to deputy communications director Sean Naron.
“Olszewski’s administration is taking a thoughtful and deliberative approach to utilize ARPA resources and is working across departments to come up with solutions,” Naron said.
Earlier this year, Olszewski, along with several department and agency heads, walked through the city’s neighborhoods in order to speak with residents about their concerns and listen to their ideas. Some of the concerns, Naron said, pertained to public safety, code enforcement, and access to recreational open space.
Based on findings, Olszewski recognized the need to coordinate resources to the community, and thus, he announced plans for a multi-departmental, place-based initiative to reduce disparities and improve quality of life.
The $3 million is a portion of the $160 million funding package provided to Baltimore County through the American Rescue Plan Act, which is a federal bill extending economic relief to America’s counties. It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.
Olszewski is facilitating community meetings, including one right after Thanksgiving, to obtain public input on funding priorities and opportunities, and then will make recommendations on spending.
“We will be announcing next steps in the coming weeks on how we will further engage the community and expand this program’s portfolio,” Naron said.