After Congress passed its $787 billion stimulus package last month, Ann Arbor City Council members quickly began talking about how some of that money might be used to help the city.

While the federal plan stipulates that 36 percent of the stimulus money must go toward tax rebates, the other 64 percent will be used for “shovel-ready” social programs issued at the state level and often administered at the local level.

Ann Arbor City Councilmember Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3), who is coordinating the stimulus requests for Ann Arbor’s City Council, said that the city compiled a wish list of shovel-ready public works projects it is hoping the stimulus package will fund.

Though the city has dozens of projects that it would like to be funded by the stimulus package, Greden said the city has prioritized five projects.

“The first on the list is anything related to repairing Stadium Boulevard,” he said. “The two southern lanes of Stadium Boulevard are closed at the bridge because the beam that supports that part of the bridge is deteriorating.”

Greden said the city would like to rebuild the bridge entirely, but the cost would exceed the amount of stimulus funding that the whole county will receive.

Keeping this in mind, the city expects $500,000 for emergency repairs to the beam so that traffic can be opened back up again.

Greden said he’s fairly confident that the city will receive the funding for the bridge’s emergency repairs because the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, the city’s local transportation coordinator, has included the Stadium Boulevard project as one of its top priorities.

The remaining projects that Greden highly prioritized include the weatherization of low-income housing, phase two of the upgrade of the Ann Arbor Municipal Center, phase two of the Fifth Street and Division Street greening project and a project to convert all of the city’s street lights to LED lights.

Greden believes that the city has a decent chance of being funded for phase two of the Fifth and Division Street project, a $3 million project to add bike lanes and LED street lights to the area and re-brick the roads in Kerrytown.

However, Greden was not as confident about the other three projects’ chances.

Although Greden said the city’s low-income housing desperately needs better insulation to cut down on utility bills, other Michigan communities have low income housing that is considered worse off. Greden believes this will likely be funded first.

And even though the city’s design to “reskin” the municipal building would make it more energy efficient, Greden said he feels that its $12 million price tag will be too high to receive funding.

Finally, Greden said that he was unsure as to whether the city’s estimated $3.8 milllion project to convert all streetlights to LED lights would be funded by the stimulus package.

Greden believes that the city will eventually follow through with its Fifth and Division St. and LED light projects, even if they’re not funded by the stimulus package, because they would make the city more environmentally friendly would save money.

Because the governor’s office hasn’t finished writing the funding package’s regulations for the state and local levels, city officials aren’t exactly sure how and when Ann Arbor will see the funds.

City officials do know, however, that the money granted to the city will only go to designated projects.

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