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Wilkes-Barre further defines plans for federal funding

Mayor George Brown announced which organizations will help the city with distributing funding from the American Rescue Plan.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — On Thursday, Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown announced that three organizations would be helping him execute a number of programs he has planned for the city and the 37.1 million federal dollars it's receiving from the American Rescue Plan.

Much of the plan involves stimulus-type payments to entrepreneurs, property owners, and non-profits in the city.

Brown announced The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, and the Commission on Economic Opportunity would be helping him determine who is eligible for funding.

"Each of these agencies are well respected within the community," said Mayor Brown. "And that's why we sat down and reached out to these agencies. We reached out to each of these agencies, saying, Will you help us with this program and the overwhelming answer was, 'Yes, Mayor, we feel it's gonna be a benefit to the residents and businesses.'"

Wico van Gendren with the Chamber will be helping select entrepreneurs who will receive funding to open businesses in the city.

"I think this is a great way to do that with this program that we're trying to put together," said van Gendren. "So we still have to define exactly what the process is going to look like. We're going to be working very closely with the mayor's office to make sure that we do this right because, at the end of the day, it really is all about getting the money to the people, to get them to re kickstart the businesses here in the city."

The Commission on Economic Opportunity will be helping with stimulus payments to property owners who have been adversely affected, and Bill Jones with United Way will help send funding to non-profits.

"You know, for, for agencies that are, that serve people in need," said Bill Jones. "Whether they are mental health agencies, whether they are childcare facilities, all of those facilities that are serving organizations that are serving people who have great needs."

The mayor's plan also includes reducing garbage and parking fees in the city and spending money on infrastructure needs.

He tells Newswatch 16 these programs will be further defined and put in place after the summer.

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