Mayor outlines nearly a dozen new projects for Rome’s remaining Rescue Plan funding
ROME — Childcare at the YMCA, additional mental health services, a $3 million renovation of Rome Health’s intensive care unit and a new dental hygienist program at Mohawk Valley Community College are among 11 new proposals from Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo on how to spend the last of the city’s funds — roughly $9 million — from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“I think these are some significant projects that will have an impact throughout the entire community,” said Izzo.
“We’ve built the ARPA program on the basis of initiatives that can serve the community, the whole community, in the best manner.”
Mayor Izzo announced her recommendations to the Daily Sentinel and has passed them along to the city’s Common Council this week for potential resolutions. Izzo said the proposed projects would finish off the last of the funds from the $25 million Rome received from the federal government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each proposal will need to be voted upon to bring the ARPA money into the city’s budget via amendments. Mayor Izzo said the federal government gave a deadline of 2026 to put the money to use.
The city has already used ARPA funds to extend water and sewer lines to facilitate new home development at Woodhaven and Delta Luxury, purchase two new fire trucks, several City Hall improvements, and start the demolition of the Fort Stanwix Parking Garage at the corner of North James and West Liberty streets.
ARPA Committee members are First Ward Councilor John Sparace, Third Ward Councilor Kimberly Rogers and Council President Stephanie Viscelli.
• $3 million renovation of Rome Health’s intensive care unit. Mayor Izzo noted that Rome Health was one of the very few hospitals to never close their emergency room to new patients during the pandemic, and it was crucial to be able to move patients from the emergency room to critical care or an ICU bed. The new ICU renovations would feature proper plumbing infrastructure, better access for families at bedside, housing durable equipment in patient rooms, and will increase Rome Health’s ability to recruit and retain high quality nurses and doctors.
“We need to make investments in Rome’s future, as far as health is concerned,” Izzo said, announcing several health-related projects.
“This funding was provided to local governments in response to a debilitating pandemic and, as such, I am strongly in favor of providing funds to the strengthening of our healthcare facilities, as well as promoting new initiatives to expand health and wellness facilities and programs in our city.”
• $500,000 to establish a dental hygienist program at MVCC’s Rome campus. Izzo said there is a lack of dental education programs in Central New York, and dentists in the five-county region fully support MVCC’s plans. She said there is a great shortage of dental hygienists in the area, and this new program would help fill those holes. The new program would also come with a teaching clinic that would provide affordable dental hygiene services to the community.
• $300,000 for mental health support services through the Center for Family Life and Recovery. Last year, CFLR purchased the former REACH Center on West Dominick Street in order to build a community impact center, to lessen barriers to service, decrease stigma and to provide prevention, treatment and recovery services/programming. This money would help strengthen the partnership between Rome and the CFLR for mental health and addiction treatment and services.
• $1.2 million for residential home rehabilitation for qualifying households throughout the city. Ever since the pandemic, especially with increased inflation, the mayor said many city residents have had to forgo home repairs, such as painting, roofing, porch replacements and other expensive projects. This new program would provide $25,000 per household for repair projects, administered through the Home Ownership Center in Utica.
“We are finding people that they would like nothing better than to do those repairs. But what happened because of inflation? What do they do first? They’re on limited income. They’re trying to put food on the table. They’re trying to make sure there’s gas in the car,” Izzo explained. “We’ve got a pot of money where we can really help people. We want people to be able to stay in their homes.”
• $500,000 in sidewalk repairs and improvements. For years now, the mayor said the city has kept a list of sidewalk complaints and repair requests throughout the city. This money would be used to fulfill all of the requests and make sidewalks safer.
• $950,000 for renovations to the Rome Art & Community Center. The city engaged LaBella Associates to perform a structural assessment of the facilities, and money is needed for high priority work. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Carpenter House, and these repairs will help keep it standing for another century, Izzo said.
• $170,000 for improvements to the Franklyn’s Field Clubhouse. The mayor said the Clubhouse is aging and in need of repair, and her administration found a vendor who could match the original masonry. The material has already been purchased and was planned to be used last year, but delays have forced the city to rebid the project for this year.
• $300,000 for a new child watch room at the YMCA. The mayor said the city and the area need more capacity for childcare, and this new child-minding space will be geared towards children under the age of five, with designated areas for infants, crawlers and walkers.
“The city really doesn’t have resources to be involved in daycare,” Izzo said.
“However, that’s one of the biggest needs throughout the entire county, not just in Rome.”
• $400,000 for water and sewer installations along Potter Road from Route 26 to Route 46. Nascentia Health has proposed building a new senior living community along Potter Road, but the area planned for development is not connected to the city’s water and sanitation utilities. The mayor said she wants to use some funds to extend the existing 8-inch water utility from the Brookside Village housing area to accommodate the new development site.
• $1 million downtown parking canopy. The Fort Stanwix Parking Garage is set for demolition this year, to be replaced by a 200-spot parking lot. The mayor has proposed building canopies over the lot to provide shade in the summer and assisting with snowplowing in the winter.
“Plowing is the huge issue in the winter, which is why we could never allow overnight parking in a lot of these lots,” Izzo said.
“So we’re hoping that a canopy system will show us that we can accomplish that.”
• $800,000 for a new fire truck. The Rome Fire Department’s Engine #2 will be 10 years old in 2025, and in need of replacement on the front line. A new fire truck takes about two years to build and equip, and the mayor said using ARPA funds would spare taxpayers from buying the new truck.
“We have conducted an extensive review of the key areas in the city that need immediate attention,” Izzo said.
“I have submitted my recommendations to the Common Council for their review and would urge them to act swiftly on these projects as they fit perfectly into the federal requirements for the use of ARPA funding, which stresses creating growth and opportunity to enable our great City of Rome to continue moving forward.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here