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Akron City Council looking to stay engaged with residents in 2022

Akron's municipal building
Akron City Council
It looks as though 2022 will be a busy year at Akron City Hall. City Council is expected to act on issues ranging from how to spend COVID-19 relief money to racial justice to community engagement.

2022 will be a big year for Akron City Council, from deciding how the city will spend its American Rescue Plan Act funds to implementing its plan to address racial equity and social justice. Through it all, city council is encouraging Akron residents to stay engaged.

ARPA funding
Council President Margo Sommerville says her No. 1 priority is to strategize how to use the $145 million in ARPA funding.

Joint Announcement
Council President Margo Sommerville says engaging with Akron residents is a priority in the new year.

"We have a unique opportunity to have additional resources to address some of the top concerns in our community, gun violence, housing, reinvesting in our public spaces and community centers," she said.

Sommerville says council wants to be intentional on where the invest the ARPA money. The city has been accepting ideas from the community on what to do with the money, a process that will be open for the next few months.

"We are still trying to get ideas on how we can address our priority areas, whether it be gun violence, housing, those types of things," she said.

Sommerville says once council has collected the ideas and input, it will begin to prioritize the ideas and programs it wants to implement.

Racial equity
The Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force turned in a five-year strategic plan to council last month. Sommerville says council will also be prioritizing implementing this plan in 2022.

"You'll see council having more conversations about those recommendations and actually seeing those recommendations turn into legislation," she said.

Sommerville says Council will bridge the report from the Task Force with previous reports on public safety in Akron to create new policy.

Community Engagement
"We are really being intentional on how we can better engage with Akron residents," she said.

Sommerville says part of this is launching new social media platforms for city council.

"We're in 2022, and city council doesn't have a social media page and an engagement platform," she said.

Sommerville wants to make sure residents are engaged in local politics and know what's happening in city hall.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.